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MACBETH (article first published : 2002-01-23)

The Actors Co-operative will be presenting its most ambitious project to date when its full-scale production of William Shakespeare’s horrific tragedy Macbeth plays in Durban, Empangeni, Richards Bay, Pietermaritzburg and Hilton in February.

Aimed at both the theatregoing public and senior schools who are studying the play for Matric, this presentation - the Co-op’s first of two of Shakespeare’s tragedies planned for 2002 - is as exciting as it will be informative.

Macbeth stars Vita Award winner Ben Voss who has just completed a sell-out run of his self-penned solo show Men’s Night. Making his debut for the Actors Co-operative, it will be his second foray into the dramatic world of Shakespeare, having recently played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at the Playhouse.

Multiple award-winner Belinda Harward who plays the coveted role of Lady Macbeth has been closely associated with the Co-op for many years. She led the company in their production of The Story of an African Farm and Trouble With Women!, their South African adaptation of three Anton Chekhov short stories, as well as Pieter-Dirk Uys’s Faces In The Wall.

Director Garth Anderson says the production will focus on the intensity of the relationship between Macbeth himself and Lady Macbeth. In a two-hour performance, the cast of 12 will trace the rise and fall of the troubled Scottish Thane from his success on the battlefield, his accession to the throne of Scotland to his tragic end. The production takes care to maintain the immediacy and accessibility of style to which contemporary audiences are accustomed. The Co-op makes full use of the drama, the tragedy and very often the humour of the script to make the story come alive for audiences of all ages.

Peter Court takes on the popular role of the Porter, bringing a breath of comic relief to the drama. The star-studded cast includes Karen Campbell-Gillies, Tyrone Akal, Clare Mortimer and Jack Devnarain, who played Orsino in the Playhouse’s Twelfth Night. Damon Thomas, who has been seen in countless Playhouse productions, appears as Banquo and Macduff. Others in the cast include Edward Berridge, Andile Mngadi and newcomer Andrew Kerr who will play Young Macduff.

With all its blood and gore, Macbeth is one of the most often performed of Shakespeare’s plays, and the Co-op will not tamper with its centuries-old popularity. As such, this production will be extremely useful to pupils about to embark on an extensive study of the text. The Co-op will seek to recapture the excitement Macbeth must have had for its first audiences and to confront them with its core and all its varied layers of meaning.

Booking is open at Computicket, credit card bookings on 011 340-8000 or 083 915-8000. Online bookings at www.computicket.com. For block bookings or for schools performances, contact Garth Anderson of the Actors Co-operative on 083 439 -1532.




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