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Preview: ‘Shakespeare in the raw: Macbeth’

Stripped down production of Macbeth to hit Players Theatre.

Kevin Flores, Arts & Life Editor

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Something wicked this way comes.

The CSULB University Players are putting on a bare bones production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” The “in the raw” approach to the play adheres to the philosophy that less is more.

“There’s absolutely no technical support,” said Elizabeth Swain, director of the play and adjunct theatre arts lecturer at CSULB. “When one studies theatre history, a lot of the theorists talk about doing what’s called poor theatre, which means all you should need to make theatre are an audience, a playing space, and actors.”

The shortest of the Bard’s tragedies, the play revolves around the power hungry Scottish nobleman Macbeth and his no less ambitious wife Lady Macbeth.

Relevant themes in the play, according to Swain, include thwarted love, the dictates of honor, corrupt politics, blind ambition, moral blindness and the passionate pursuit of the romantic.

With a mostly bare stage, Swain hopes the audience will gain a new appreciation for the 400-year-old text.

“The audience will be allowed to use their imagination more. With any luck—because they won’t be distracted with a lot of scenery and things going on—they will listen to the text,” said Swain who also directed a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at CSULB in 2009.

Without props, the actors had to come up with creative ways to depict certain scenes. Asked how the actors will portray sword fights, Swain said: “Wait and see.”

“Shakespeare in the Raw: Macbeth” opens on Oct. 13 and closes on Oct. 25. Performances run from Oct. 12 to 17 and Oct. 20 to 24 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances on Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25 are at 2 p.m. Performances are presented at the Players Theatre. Tickets are $17 for general admission and $14 for students, seniors and military.

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