According to Shakespearean lore bad luck visits theater companies that utter the name "Macbeth" when the play is not actually being performed. According to Aurelia Alstonâ a local Shakespeare savantâ "pronouncing the name can conjure up the tormented malevolent spirit of Macbeth himself and he been known to close a show within a week. For this entire season, artistic director Jeffrey Trotter has cautiously referred to MACBETH as "the Scottish Play." Jeffrey's prudence has paid off: like other years, the closing play of the summer for Shakespeare at Stinson may very well be its finest.
Renowned director Kenneth Kellenher has orchestrated this marvelous production. But faint hearts be warned: this play is spooky. It will scare you. If the night air rolling off the Pacific does not give you chills, this play will. We all know to expect grotesque soothsayer witches who speak with Delphic clarity. And we know Banquo's ghost will attend the banquet. But, foreknowledge will not keep the hairs on the back of your neck from rising up like bristles on a boar's back nor keep your spine from shivering. An existential set design by Ron Krempetz worthy of Godot himself, Jungian make-up by Tess Felix-Greene, surreal lighting by Dan "Dali" Scott and spooky sounds generated by Drew Anderson all nightmarishly conspire to scare the pantaloons off even seasoned Shakespeare veterans. To theater purists, it is reassuring to see that George Lucas digital special effects are not required to suspend an audience's sense of disbelief.
MACBETH has spawned more than its share of clichs: "full of sound and fury," "Out, damned spot," "Out, out brief candle. . ." to mention a few. Good directing and good acting manage to keep these familiar sayings embedded in the text lest they pop out and sound trite or cant. Chiron Alston (Macbeth) does such a fine job on his "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" speech that one scarcely realizes he is delivering what is arguably one of the most familiar monologues in all of Shakespeare.
Not that anyone would compare Hillary to Lady Macbeth, but this is an appropriate play for an election year. As Kellenher points out "power, lust, betrayal . . . and revenge" are the engines which drive this play. The theme is as at home inside convention halls and the Washington beltway as it was in the days of Scottish heraldry.
The play runs Saturdays and Sundays until October 15th. The curtain goes up at 6:00 p.m. in September and at 5:30 p.m. in October. Unlike San Francisco plays, you don't pay a bridge toll getting there and parking is free for the first 1700 customers in Stinson Beach Park. "Not âuntil Birnam wood marches to Dusinane" are you likely to get a better deal nor better family friendly Shakespeare. To reserve tickets, call the box office at 415-868-1115.