REVIEW Boulder Weekly - 'Macbeth nothing short of brilliant'

July 3, 2013

By Gary Zeidner

Boulder Weekly Theater Critic

Setting one of Shakespeare’s plays in a relatively modern time and place is more the rule than the exception these days. Of the dozens of performances of the Bard’s works I’ve seen, only a small handful has used a “traditional” setting. Instead, directors tend to take Othello and move it to America’s antebellum South or turn Romeo into a Greaser and Juliet into a Soc a la The Outsiders. 

While this bent toward modernizing Shakespeare invariably results in novel productions, it often feels more a gimmick than an inspiration. From time to time, however, a director uses this technique so successfully that a well-worn classic, a known commodity, becomes vibrantly alive once again. Such is the case with Director Jane Page’sMacbeth at this year’s Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF).

With American troops still on the ground in Afghanistan today and with the relationship between the U.S. and Russia becoming more eerily Cold War-ish every week, Page’s choice to set Macbeth in the 1980s Soviet occupation of the perennially war-torn Iranian neighbor is nothing short of brilliant. This Macbeth may be the most thought-provoking and emotionally arresting production of a Shakespeare play that I have ever seen.  

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Geoffrey Kent, over fire, Jamie Ann Romero and Nicole Bruce as the three witches and Nigel Gore (on his back) as Macbeth. Photo by Gavin Cameron-Webb