NUANGOLA — Do you like intrigue and swordplay? Medieval times? Watching villains get their comeuppance?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, Dawn Winarski believes you’ll enjoy the production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” at Theatre at the Grove.
“Especially if you like ‘Game of Thrones,’” she said. “You’ll get this whole thing.”
Winarski, of Glen Lyon, has the meaty role of Lady Macbeth, who urges her husband to kill King Duncan and claim the crown of Scotland for himself.
“Lady Macbeth is the true driving force of ambition,” said Dane Bower, of West Wyoming, who portrays Macbeth. “There are times you get the impression she’s forcing his hand.”
Winarski believes Lady Macbeth “didn’t set out to be evil,” but her ambition “kind of gets the best of her. It corrupts her soul.”
“She’s such an interesting character,” Winarski said. “There’s a sexual side to her. That’s how she tries to manipulate her husband. She can be sweet and nice, almost motherly to him. She also can be nasty and insults him to his face.
”She seems to be doing it (trying to get the throne) for him, but she has a line about ‘the power that we have.’ It’s significant that she’s saying ‘we have this power’ instead of ‘you’ve got this power.’“
Macbeth, too, becomes overly hungry for power, Bower said, and the character is willing to kill not only King Duncan but innocent children.
“He’s a career soldier, and he’s been a man of great loyalty and honor, up to this point in his life,” he said. “It’s difficult to sympathize with someone who does such horrible things in the name of power.”
Director Adam Randis, of Hazleton, sees the tension in the play as not only a conflict between good and evil but between order and chaos. Working on the side of chaos are the “wyrd sisters” who prophesy a kingship for Macbeth.
While some productions of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy traditionally offer three witches, or wyrd sisters, Randis has cast five.
“They intersperse themselves throughout the play and push the plot forward,” he said. “We’re playing them like primordial forces of nature.”
“The question is, do the wyrd sisters see the future? Or do they know they can form it by what they suggest?” Randis said. “Shakespeare leans toward the concept of free will. We choose to listen to prophecies, or not.”
Macbeth and his companion Banquo encounter the wyrd sisters face to face and hear their predictions. Lady Macbeth doesn’t meet them the same way, but gets an inkling nonetheless.
“I actually hear something,” Winarski said. “When there’s a ‘voice upon the winds,’ I notice and hear something. It’s chilling my blood a little. Something is amiss. I’m starting to see something, but not clearly.”
After Lady Macbeth learns about the prophecies, Randis said, “she offers herself up to whatever. She’s willing to do anything.”
And that’s not a good idea.
“When you sell your soul,” the director said, “it eventually gets cashed in.”
The production has a strongly medieval ambience, Winarski said, that audiences will notice right away. “As soon as the lights go down, you are there.”
Adding to the atmosphere are costumes made by Gina Morrison, her daughter, Victoria, and other helpers.
“They’re beautiful,” Winarski said. “The other day, I was trying on one of them and said, ‘Oh my God, this is gorgeous.’”