Renaissance Now’s Macbeth at The Castle Amphitheater in Provo is Haunting to the Last

By Rayna Bell

Renaissance Now Theatre & Film is performing Shakespeare’s Macbeth this weekend at The Castle Amphitheater in Provo. The enthralling cast, beautifully coordinated costumes, menacing music, and haunting movement all come together for a production you do not want to miss.

Macbeth is the tale of a Scotsman who begins the story a war hero and ends a murderer and traitor. Upon hearing the prophesy of some witches found in the woods, Macbeth returns home from battle to find that his wife craves the same power and glory the witches prophesied of: Macbeth is to be king. This path to the crown leaves MacBeth haunted by the ghosts of those he betrayed.

The Castle Amphitheater is an ideal venue for a play centered around hauntings and murder. The chill of the night air adds to the tension being portrayed and the surrounding stonework immerses the audience in the setting. In our case, that chilly night air became a decent rain (the curse of The Scottish Play?) and we were ushered into the largest turret to finish the show. During our transition time, members of the cast helped usher us up the stairs and into the turret making sure everyone was comfortably seated and ready to resume. The turret provided an intimate viewing experience and was an equally suitable backdrop for the production. Never fear, the show will go on at The Castle Amphitheater.

On our way down the cobblestone stairs and down the little path to our car, my husband and I both agreed that one of the most chilling moments of the production is Lady Macbeth’s (Sariah Hopkins) sleepwalking. I could not take my eyes off Hopkins for even a moment for fear that I would miss one of the subtle details in these moments. Truly a haunting performance. Equally impressive is Macbeth’s (Archelaus B. Cristano) descent into madness as he sees the zombie-like ghost of Banquo (Benjamin Hyde) follow him into the dining hall to join the others in the feast. A few minutes into the opening scenes and I found myself already regretting that King Duncan (Joel Applegate) is only in the first act. Fortunately, Applegate is seen onstage as both a Hitman and Siward. The clarity of every word he says and the inflections in his voice are things I could listen to for hours. Of course, no review of Macbeth is complete without mentioning MacDuff. Samuel Payne’s MacDuff is one of hearty Scottish pride, prone to passion even to the point of tears and demonstrating determination in every moment. The ensemble movement is reminiscent of a Greek chorus and makes the mystery and magic of the show come to life. Props are seen again and again throughout the play as flexible motifs that give the audience a better awareness of structure and creation. Cast members transition between many different characters in the play while still maintaining the distinct identity of each individual character. Everyone comes together to tell a truly enthralling tale, even in the face of inclement weather and a stage change.

While I wouldn’t take children to this performance, because the language can be difficult to understand and there is some use of blood, anyone with the nerve to see this story will be well-rewarded by attending this performance. Kathy Curtis did an excellent job of directing this production and bringing everything together. Bring a couple blankets, some mosquito repellent, and a friend or two and catch this excellent production.

Renaissance Now Theatre & Film presents Shakespeare’s Macbeth
The Castle Amphitheater at the Utah State Hospital Recreational Center, 1300
Center Street, Provo UT 84606
September 21-23 8:00 PM
Tickets: $10
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