“The Queen, my lord, is dead.” Lady Macbeth awakes to a purgatory created from her own gruesome misdeeds. Unsure whether her final destination is Heaven or Hell, and guided by three gleefully tormenting witches, she searches for answers… and her lost love… in the mind-bending hereafter.”From the press release
Based on Macbeth, Something Wicked begins as Lady Macbeth leaves this mortal coil for the chaos that awaits her. It’s almost as if in the midst of her death throes we get to see her guilty deeds flash before her and the beginning of her afterlife.
The characters from the original play float and surge through swinging doors at the back of the stage. They dance, sing and play out Lady Macbeth’s version of the story. The director and creator (Anaïs Koivisto) repurposes Shakespeare’s words to underline the moments before and after the first murders in Macbeth – putting Lady Macbeth in the middle and having all the other characters literally and figuratively move around her.
Anaïs Koivisto creates a unique structure where the characters in the play do not stay within their borders; Shakespeare’s words are divided and spread amongst the characters’. The lines in the play are used like phrases of movement, gaining meaning in repetition as the other characters share and borrow lines from Shakespeare’s original script.
This is both part of its innovation as well as a small source of confusion; it starts to feel as if everyone is Lady Macbeth. And, just as in a dream all the people are thought to be the dreamer; so in this play many of the characters seem to enact/reflect Lady Macbeth.
The piece is reminiscent of Martha Graham’s Night Journey; you know the one based on the story of Oedipus where his mom, Jocasta, sleeps with him, and eventually kills herself as Lady Macbeth does in Macbeth. Both pieces depict women racked by guilt. But the similarity does not end there. Anaïs Koivisto pulls Lady Macbeth to the forefront in the same way Graham puts Jocasta in the center of Night Journey. The two pieces stretch a few moments of time into a fully explored piece and are depictions of the main character’s mind.
Just as the circular madness of her ruminations were at a fever pitch, whenI felt a little nuts from being inside the head of a murderer, out come the experts on Macbeth. From the Freudian to the not-so-Freudian countered by Woman 2 (Ali Stoner) who portrays a feminist scholar whose arguments are so bright and shiny she leaves them in the dust and this audience member smiling. This scene comes out of nowhere and refreshes us more than a cold beer or an intermission.
I would be remiss not to mention the stellar acting and ensemble work that makes this piece so interesting and unique. This is a power packed group playing out great ideas that push at the edges of performance. I feel they are not only great actors, dancers and musicians, they are committed to jumping off and away from what they know, they are alchemists creating and finding what the jaded rest-of-us might not even see. Like seeing Spalding Gray or going to the Wooster Group before they became household names, why not go watch them grow? And then you can say..I saw them when – before everyone knew how great they are!
An Everyday Inferno Theatre Company is a talented ensemble that blends dance, music and theatre to form new constructs to express the feelings and ideas of the subjects they explore. I am curious to see more of what they do.
Something Wicked – Directed and adapted by Anaїs Koivisto
WITH: Sam Bruce (Third Witch), Kathryn Connors (Lady Macbeth), Laura Epperson (First Witch), Paul Gregg (Second Witch), Zachary Libresco (Man 2, Macbeth), Lila Newman (Woman 1, Lady Macduff), Samuel Platizky (Man 1, Duncan), Ali Stoner (Woman 2, Child), Jay William and Thomas (Man 3, Banquo).
Produced by Katherine Sommer, Dramaturgy by Jamie Wylie, Stage Combat by Ryan Mills. Sound Design and costumes by Anaїs Koivisto Lights by Anaїs Koivisto and Geoff Moonen Presented by The FRIDID New York Restival presents An Everyday Inferno Theatre Company production at THE KRAINE THEATER 85 E 4th St, Manhattan. Through March 8th. http://www.smarttix.com/
Running time: 1 hour