A new twist on a dark tale
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
If you go
This show is recommended for middle school ages and up, due to several simulated acts of violence and murder shown on stage.
The shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20, 21 and 22, at the Washburn Perfoming Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
Alan Stogin and Tyler Schroeder were supposed to be doing research for their U.S. history class.The two WHS students and the rest of the class were studying the 1930s gangster era. However, instead of researching information on organized crime, they were looking at photos from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
“Basically, we weren’t really paying attention,” said Schroeder.
But it was then that they came upon an idea: What would happen if the dark elements from the 1930s underworld were combined with another tale of greed, murder and power? Specifically, Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
The two approached drama teacher Kelly Gregersen with their idea, which was met with unexpected enthusiasm.
“Usually, when we ask him if we can do something, he looks at us and says, ‘Ahh…no,’” Stogin said. “But he was all for this.”
So, the trio worked on an adaptation of the play that would resonate with audiences.
“It has always been one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays for the rich thematic elements, and the fast-paced, gripping nature of the plot,” Gregersen said. “Placing it in a 1930’s Chicago Underworld setting enhances many of the elements of the story and also makes it even more accessible for audiences who might be a little nervous about the Shakespearian language.”
A lot of the early work involved tackling the language.
“We really worked on how to bring the intent and meaning out of the lines,” Gregersen explained. “Then, we spent time talking about the nature of greed and what people, still today, will do for power. We are slamming in a few extra rehearsals due to the snow days, but we’ll have a great show ready.”
Schroeder and Stogin, who also have roles in the production, are thrilled to see their idea turn into a play.
“I feel pretty honored that he (Gregersen) would do something like this for us,” Stogin said.
Added Schroeder, “It is great to see our idea come to life on stage.”
Stogin plays the role of Sergeant and Seyton, and Shroeder is Macduff, who serves as Macbeth’s right-hand-man.
In this version of the play, a ranking member of the Chicago crime family (Macbeth) is given a prophecy by three witches that he will rise in power, take over another man’s position, and later be made the king of the city.He is then given the first promised position and, encouraged by his wife, decides to murder the king and take control. But one bad deed leads to another, and soon he finds himself embroiled in murder, revolt and more prophecies.Senior Christian Edmonson plays the role of Macbeth.
“He is a very powerful, eccentric man who loves his wife dearly and would do anything for her,” he said. “He is intelligent, but has his mind set in the wrong place. It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to portray such a dark character.”
Kira Stogin, a sophomore, plays Lady Macbeth. It is her first leading role.
She sums up her character’s personality in one word: “Crazy.”
“She knows how to get things done, but she’s very crazy,” Stogin said. “She ends up turning her husband crazy, too, then regretting everything but doing nothing to change any of it.”
Getting into her character, and that level of darkness, has been a challenge.
“It’s difficult to the point where it makes me sad the rest of the day,” Stogin said. “But I am also very excited to have a big role in the play. To get the female lead as a sophomore is an honor.”