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Theater Wed May 13 2015

E.D.G.E. Theatre's MacSith: Highly Literate Sci-Fi

Macsith#1 (413x560).jpg

Photo by Jennifer Frankfurter.
Show trailer follows review.

MacSith, a sci-fi Shakespearian tale that blends the plot of Macbeth with the trappings of Star Wars, is a geek's dream come true. E.D.G.E. Theatre is presenting MacSith at Pendulum Theater Space, 1803 W. Byron Ave., Thursdays through Sundays until June 14. Orion Couling and Jared McDaris have adapted this imaginative script, which explores intergalactic warfare and the corruptive influence of power on humanity.

While Shakespeare covered the themes of manliness and honor in this bloody tale, director Couling does not shy away from those concepts either. In fact, Couling has a history of teaching youngsters how to embrace their inner warrior with stage combat (with his theater company Edge of Orion) while also developing their sense of honor by using the power of social theater to promote non-violence. This is a classic geek bait and switch move, which Shakespeare himself would have approved of. Couling explains where he got the idea: "This script came out of a desire to have fun teaching the Bard yet still do really exciting work that was not all just men in tights and women in bodices. So I tried out three different genres including Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica in three different Shakespeare plays including Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. This one stuck."

There may be a sparse set on a small stage, but much attention has been given to the costumes, which rival the cosplay outfits seen at C2E2 in their elaborate commitment to those with a role-playing ethos. During the first few scenes the audience has to hustle to keep up with the fast-paced plot changes, and adapt to the interspersing of intense action with antiquated dialog, but the rhythm of the plot soon creates suspense and reveals the humanity of Shakespeare- an effective combination when intertwined with the lushness of the Jedi universe.

Actor Nick Toussaint conveyed the power and nuance of his character Monbeth, embodying at first a humble hero soon swayed by the prophesies of a barrage of witches. Lady Monbeth, played by Lexi Saunders, portrayed an equally potent figure, somehow eliciting empathy with the fearsomeness of her desperate ambition. Banquo, Monbeth's best friend for a time, played by Jack Sharkey, is equal parts heart-breaking and eerie in his Jedi ghost phase.

MacSith
is fast paced, perhaps in need of an intermission and a deep breath to allow the audience to dwell on the plot intricacies that seem rushed upon occasion in an effort to get the whole story out in 70 minutes. But the small space of the theater creates an intimacy between the large cast and audience, allowing us to experience each character's dilemma up close, and feel the wind created by the elaborately choreographed light saber fights. The courtly realms of Macbeth's era and the decorous empire of Star Wars are especially compatible for such a mash-up, and the comparisons are not lost on Couling and McDaris as they blend the terminologies together to create a unified vision. Planets named North Umber coalesce with locations such as the Outer Rim. Macbeth turned MacSith then is a classic plot livened up by a modern twist and such a visual feast that it warrants visits from fanboys and fangirls as well as English majors. Perhaps Shakespeare dreamed of Macbeth's transformation to Monbeth when he gave him the star-powered line "Stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires."

You can see E.D.G.E. Theatre's MacSith at various times Thursday through Sunday through June 14. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets for $18.

Watch the trailer here.


 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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