Directed by Department of Theatre professor Ernest W. Wiggins, Macbeth features a cast of 26 student actors, as well as scenic, lighting, and sound designs by student designers. Daniel Pellicano, who recently received rave reviews as the troubled Jacob in The Beautiful Dark at Premiere Stages, plays the title role.
Kean’s Macbeth comes on the heels of a number of high-profile productions, including Lincoln Center Theater’s current incarnation, starring Ethan Hawke and scheduled to open Nov. 21. A one-man version of “the Scottish play,” as the classic is commonly termed by the superstitious, appeared on Broadway earlier this summer, featuring renowned British stage actor Alan Cumming in every major role. This acclaimed if unconventional take on Shakespeare’s masterpiece followed yet another well-reviewed production in London’s West End this spring. The London production starred Scottish actor James McAvoy, perhaps best known to American audiences as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class.
In preparation for their own production, Kean students recently attended a preview of the LCT production in New York. Actor Derek Wilson, who plays Lennox and understudies Mr. Hawke, met students post-performance for an informal Q & A session. The students’ questions ranged from how best to tackle Shakespeare’s complex language to how professional stage fights are choreographed and rehearsed. Director Ernest W. Wiggins accompanied his cast and crew members on the trip, which was arranged by Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean.
When pressed to explain the seemingly inexhaustible popularity of Macbeth on the eve of Kean’s opening night, Wiggins found no shortage of attractions. “Sword fights, blood, the witches, the Macbeths, and the beauty of the embodied word keep audiences riveted,” he explained. “But, first and foremost, we return to see this play to witness actors tell a story about the intoxication of power… a story that has mesmerized and inspired audiences for centuries.” Wiggins added that he particularly looked forward to the audience joining him in “the celebration of these young actors and creative artists as they rise to embody the challenge of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.”
Macbeth features sets by Frank Giamella, lights by Zack Gage, and sound by Jonathan Stanley, all current Kean students. The Production Stage Manager, Morgan Rabush, is a Kean student as well. Costumes are designed by Department of Theatre professor Karen Lee Hart, and Michele Mossay, Coordinator of Kean’s Dance Minor program and Academy of Performing Arts Liaison, served as movement coach. Fight choreography is by Erik Hall.
Macbeth opens Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. in Kean University’s Wilkins Theatre, located at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union. Additional performances include: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. & 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. The performance on Nov. 21st will be followed by a post-show discussion with Dr. Susanna Rich, Professor of English and Recipient of the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching at Kean.
Tickets are $10 for students, $12 for seniors, and $15 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased online at www.keanstage.com or by calling the Kean Stage Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).
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