The Monroe County Civic Theatre is presenting Shakespeare’s "Scottish play," "Macbeth" outdoors in Bloomington’s Third Street Park in a production with a lot to recommend it. Overall, this "Macbeth" was clearly spoken, well laid out and neatly done. It’s a more than worthy addition to the Civic’s long history of these summer productions.
Each time I see "Macbeth" different parts seem particularly telling. Saturday night’s performance was neatly placed between the Democrat and Republican Conventions. This election campaign has seemed to have an awful lot to do with the virtues and dangers of testosterone. I found myself going over and over the scene where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth argue over what a man has to do to be a man. Their conclusion wasn’t very encouraging.
Every time I see "Macbeth," I try to figure out the balance of guilt for the killing of the king, between the Lord, played by Ben Aldred, and the Lady, Kacie Leblong. It’s true that he speaks of ambition and even murder early on, but later when he hesitates, does the galled Lady actually push him over the top or was he going to go through with the regicide anyway. Some productions actually try to nudge the scales to one side or the other. The Civic’s performance Saturday night, perhaps to its credit, left me guessing.
Outdoor Shakespeare is always a challenge to produce. Saturday night, the casual pace of the first act seemed pleasant, but the second half needed quicker scene changes to sustain the mood. The sound for "Macbeth" was the best that I’ve heard however in a few scenes the sound as actors strode back and forth across the stage from microphone to microphone was a little disconcerting and in a couple the blocking had the main speaker turned toward the back wall.
I know that the weather just supposed to be an external factor, but at the park all the audience are "groundlings" and I don’t remember a better weekend of weather for Monroe County Civic Theatre Shakespeare. Temperatures were cool, the production in the hands of debut director David Michel was warm and the audience comfortable
The Monroe County Civic Theatre’s production of "Macbeth" in Third Street Park continues with performances Friday and Saturday at eight.