Theater reviewer Mike Logothetis grew up in North Wilmington, performing in school and local theater productions. He lives in Newark, but you can find him wherever the arts are good.
|The ensemble fights for Scotland. Photo by Alessandra Nicole.
“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.” — The Witches
The classic Shakesperean tale of Macbeth exposes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition to those who seek power. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, celebrated general Macbeth (Mariah Ghant) slays King Duncan (Katherine Perry) and takes the Scottish throne for himself. But he is quickly consumed by guilt and suspicion of those closest to him.
Consequently, Macbeth is forced to commit more murders and spiral deeper into paranoia and
tyrannical rule. The bloodbath swiftly takes Macbeth and his queen (Ciera Gardner) into the realms of madness and eventual death.
That’s my summary of the plot, but if you arrive at the park early, you can see four actors perform a “Macbeth in two minutes” routine which is hysterical and pretty accurate. Other pre-show entertainment includes a game of “Scottish Ninja Warrior” involving a spirited version of Capture the Flag and a dance-off. There is a nightly “orientation” at 6:50 before the comedy bits and games begin. The actual play runs just under 2.5 hours with one 15-minute intermission.
“What’s done cannot be undone.” — Lady Macbeth
The power of Macbeth resides in our sympathy with those who are spiraling downward. Ghant and especially Gardner take us with them as they journey to deeper and deeper depths of despair. We witness Gardner’s Lady Macbeth gleefully bathing in power yet to be assumed (or earned). We see literal blood on the hands of Macbeth after his unspeakable deeds. The Witches foretold this “violent sorrow” in the opening act, but how things unfold is revelatory.
(CJ Higgins, Rachel O
greet Macbeth (Mariah Ghant).
Photo by Alessandra Nicole.
they are the best part of the show. CJ Higgins, Kimmie Muroya, and Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez dominate the natural (and supernatural?) setting with their synchronized physical movements, pitter-patter of language, and eerie energy. The arrival of Hecate (Katherine Perry), queen of the witches, only enhances the mystical power of the coven. They also get the benefit of special effects like a smoke machine and spooky audio reverb in their microphones.
Other highlights of the production were the rhythmic dance-style murder of Banquo (Zach Valdez); the ghost of Duncan grabbing his buried crown; the changing of tartans upon new leadership; sword fighting without props; and the diverse cast taking on multiple roles successfully.
Attending performances outside in the round at Rockwood Mansion is a delight that longtime area theater-lovers and budding fans should make plans to experience. The entire Festival area is wheelchair accessible. It is necessary to traverse a gravel walkway and a grass lawn. The seating area is on a grass lawn and patrons should bring their own blankets or chairs. Picnicking is welcomed and light concessions featuring foods from Janssen’s Market will be on sale.
Macbeth runs from July 21 through August 6 with gates opening 75 minutes early for pre-show entertainment and picnics. Curtain is at 7:30 from Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 6 on Sundays. (Timing for pre-show events will alter accordingly for Sunday performances.)
General admission is $25 with discounted tickets for seniors and active military ($22) as well as students ($20). Sundays are Family Nights when children 12 and under are welcomed for free with a paid adult. New this year are “Pay-What-You-Can Wednesdays” where patrons can choose from a variety of ticket prices.
The 2023 Delaware Shakespeare season will include two full productions – the current Summer Festival (Macbeth) and a fall Community Tour (Cymbeline) spanning October 4-22. As usual, the Community Tour will bring high quality Shakespeare performances to non-traditional locations such as homeless shelters, prisons, and community centers.
“For Scotland!” — Company