Today the team had the honor of meeting the incredible cast of Macbeth, who are in the middle of rehearsals for their show at Lincoln Center Theater, which begins October 24th. Under the guidence of director Jack O’Brien this production will lead us into Macbeth’s nightmare while still sticking close to the original text.
We snapped some pictures for you guys, which you can check out below, as well as chatted with the cast about what to expect from the show!
Ethan Hawke (Macbeth)
Anne-Marie Duff (Lady Macbeth)
Brian d’Arcy James (Banquo) was incredibly excited about being apart of this production and being at Lincoln Center. When we asked him about what connects musicals to Shakespeare he said that he believed they were extremely connected and that “There is an obvious musicality to the language, and not that you have to be a well versed musician, but any sense of musicality is going to help you have a natural instinct about what was intended with particular lines. So, I think the ear of it is helpful and important. Like I said, you don’t have to go to Juilliard and be a cellist to understand it but I think anybody who has a good ear is going to see some revelations…” He told us that Jack O’Brien even made a comparison between big Broadway Musicals and Shakespeare as well, because they both have ”big mechanics, in the design and also everybody gets to ‘Sing!’” And that Jack is like a conductor leading the company through their Shakespearian Journey.
When asked about what kind of adaption of Macbeth people can expect to see Brian said that ” What Jack is going to do is give you a classic version of this… There will be nothing imposed. And like he[Jack O'Brien] said many times the real thrust of it is the language, and that will, I don’t want to spoil anything, but that will come through in the design as well.” He expanded that they will “illuminate the story through clear ideas and clear communication and clear characterizations, and that is just as important and potent as any kind of filter that you could see it through.”
Jonny Orsini (Malcolm, his son) thinks that “Shakespeare is just obviously the best! You know, poetry inparticular, I think just brings human beings from a base level to a higher level of conciousness, and there is no better poet then Shakespeare. That’s for sure. And Lincoln Center really focuses on bringing challenging, stimulating shows to Broadway. They do incredible work and its great because the members and donors are really able to put great plays on and don’t have to worry about [tourists]… And then Jack, I worked with Jack on my last show and I feel very honored to work with him again and he is incredible, there is no one quite like him. He is really encouraging every day to strip away any preconceived notions we’ve ever had or anything we’ve ever seen about it, go back to the text, and let that work on us. Because the truth is we are all individuals and this works on every individual differently, as long as you are open to it and you don’t bring what you think it should be to it. It will bring a fresh take, cause all of us are… original people.” And when we asked Jonny what we could expect from this particular adaption of Macbeth he told us that Jack O’brien is ”just letting the text speak for its self through us as individuals, and that is the freshest, purest way to do it.”
Bianca Amato (Lady Macduff) when asked what drew her to this production divulged that she “wanted to do this play since I was a teenager. Its a play that every actor that is serious would. I have always wanted to play both of the female roles in this play, so I am feeling extremely lucky to be doing it with Lincoln Center. It doesn’t really get much better then that.” When we asked her what she finds important about having Shakespeare’s work in our contemporary society she sighed “Everything! Macbeth itself is very much like Breaking Bad. And how these stories… many of them have their inception with Shakespeare. And Shakespeare is such a timeless writer, [he] is never going to go out of style! Because he taps in to the most core of human experiences and emotions, and he just knows how to do it… At no point in time should anybody loose Shakespeare.”
When we asked Bianca what she was most excited about with this production she told us she “worked with Jack before, the design team is amazing, Lincoln Center is just really, extraordinarily good at what they do.” And when we asked about the rumored nightmarish quality to this particular production she said that ” I also want to say that it definitely doesn’t lose its human quality, there are moments of levity throughout. It’s also not just going to be dark, its going to be GORGEOUS! So, you know, no matter what there is going to be so much to see.”
Daniel Sunjata (Macduff), when we asked him what drew him to this production he replied, “Everything! Pretty much, in short, the opportunity to work with Jack O’Brien, the opportunity to do a classic on Broadway, the opportunity to work with Ethan Hawke, Anne-Marie Duff, so there is no downside to this possibility.”
When we asked him about the differences between his recent filming on Graceland and performing Shakespeare he said that ” Well obviously the height of the language, and the requirement of the language are a lot greater when you’re working in Shakespeare. Live performance is an entirely different animal, [television] where you can get a second and third take, in stage there is no second take you just gotta keep moving on… I think stage is a little bit more challenging, and I was wondering if I still had it in me.”
We asked him what his favorite part of the production was and his response was “Really, it’s Jack’s vision. The show is not contemporized as you find a lot of Shakespeare plays, or set in the period that they are written… this play kind of takes place in the realm of the imagination. It’s kind of a nightmare. So, really, when he gave me his pitch for his vision of the play, that sold me immediantly.”
And Daniel made sure to tell us why he felt Macbeth is a relevant story for today’s audience. “The play has a long history. I think that it’s important to do this play today, now though because it’s about the psychopathy of patriarchy gone mad. Like Patriarchal cancer! And I think that a lot of the problems that we are seeing in the world right now are spoken to by the themes of this play. So it’s always good to do something that is not only atristically–that has artistic inegrety, which Shakespeare inherently does, that is also socially relavent. If you can find a way to do a play, a classic, that is socially relevant to the time I think that is also a plus.”
Malcolm Gets (A Witch)
The Cast of Lincoln Center’s Macbeth with director Jack O’Brien.
Director Jack O’Brien and Ethan Hawke
More of the Company of Macbeth
More of the Company of Macbeth
And even MORE of the Company of Macbeth
The Macduff’s, Bianca Amato and Daniel Sunjata
Brian d’Arcy James
The Macbeth’s, Anne-Marie Duff and Ethan Hawke