The Celtic world has invaded the Temple Theater stage. Tomlinson Hall is currently showcasing Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from February 12th until February 22nd. The play is directed by Dan Kern, an award-winning director and professor of directing at Temple University. Macbeth is played by an acclaimed local actor named Charlie DelMarcelle. The Shakespearean play has explored the world of magic and power which director Kern wanted to bring to life on stage.
Kern had a vision when it came to directing Macbeth. According to Kern, the play was set in the Celtic times focused around the Sutton Hoo treasure which was discovered in the English county of Suffolk. The treasure was buried in a mound inside of a boat that carried archaeological artifacts, which set an image of what the Anglo-Saxon period was like. When it came to directing the play, Kern focused on the fantastical aspects of Shakespeare, drawing more attention to the depth of the Celtic world.
“Our take on Macbeth, because it’s a ghost story, it strikes me that the world it wants to be set in is a fantasy sense which is why we have set it in the Celtic world. The Celtic Empire was destroyed by the Romans; it was all preserved in paper and wood so it didn’t survive. (Which) we thought we would use the elements of the Sutton Hoo treasure and expanding on it to create this world set in 500 A.D.” stated Kern.
Cat Johnson, a graduate student at Temple University and set designer, played an important role in making MacBeth come to life in the Celtic era. Humbly describing it as a team effort, she turned her colorful vision for setting into reality.
“It takes the hard work and talent of many people: the Technical Director who engineers it, the carpenters and artists who build and paint it, the lighting designer and projections designer who transform it, the actors who literally bring it life and the crew who make it work,” Johnson explained, “Only in conjunction with the costume design, sound design and overall direction can the set design serves the story and production. It was a wonderful group of people to work with so although it took a lot of work it was enjoyable.”
The actors of MacBeth also explored ways to enrich the performance and provide a visual in bringing the set to life through the words of Shakespeare. When preparing for his role, actor Tim Dugan, a second year MFA graduate, who played MacDuff stated “I prepared for this role in different ways. First, I try to get an understanding of the story of the play and then how MacDuff fits in that world. Then I start asking questions. Lots of them. Who is he? Where are they? What is Scotland like in 500 AD Pict culture? How does he see the world? And then I try to start figuring out what I want in each scene (objective) and try to find how (the tactics) I’m going to get it.”
Robert Jackson,also in the MFA graduate program, played Duncan. During this, Jackson researched the character from the character’s profession to Duncan’s personality. Jackson went into depth and explored the Holinshed Chronicles, which is a historical documentation of ancient Scottish history.
Jackson stated, “I hope the audience develops a real appreciation for this type of theater as it is increasingly rare to see classical theater produced and performed. Although many Americans study Shakespeare plays in school, these plays were written to be seen and heard, not read.”
The play was targeted to help the audience understand Shakespeare in a new and visionary way. Director Dan Kern wants the audience to understand Shakespeare and the different elements of the play.
“Our goal is to deliver the play in a clear way so the audience could keep up with the play and understand it,” Kern said. “My hope is people come out to see Shakespeare with no fear, its going to be a lot fun, we’ve got the cool effects and adjusted the microphones so its easier to hear and lots of sword fights.”
Despite the recent bad weather, the play has been performed every night and will continue to play until February 22nd. Audiences can purchase tickets online or at the Tomlinson Theater located on W. Norris Street. Tickets are $5 for Temple students and $20 for general admission.