(November 2, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

MLP's 'Macbeth' focuses on ambition, greed

Courtesy of the Shreveport Times

By Sherry P. Shephard email

SHREVEPORT, La.Marjorie Lyons Playhouse will explore how a once good but ambitious man allows this ambition to lead him into a complete descent into human greed, selfishness and destruction in its performance of Macbeth, which opens Friday.

"In the story of Macbeth, we see two good people who are blinded by ambition and driven by their love and partnership," director Emily Heugatter said. "Throughout the course of the play, we witness the loss of their humanity through their horrific crimes and the devastating aftermath of their actions."

Macbeth poster

Heugatter said directing a Shakespeare play can be daunting.

"It's a always challenge to direct a Shakespeare play because they've been around for 400 years and the reason they've survived and are so relevant to us 400 years later is because we deal with very universal primal human emotions," she said. "We're looking at love, greed, rage, envy, lust and ambition. And these are all things that we can relate to, things that we deal with in our lives that people dealt with in Shakespeare's day 400 years ago."

Scott Gibbs plays Macbeth.

"It is an absolutely overwhelming, but at the same time, very satisfying process," he said.
The character of Macbeth goes through such a wide journey, he said. "I'm starting out as an innocent man with a small ambition of wanting to rise to power and it's kind of the story of what happens when you give those selfish, ambitious thoughts a chance of actually becoming real."

Lauren Morrison portrays the role of Lady Macbeth.

"Everyone portrays Lady Macbeth as an evil woman, but she's much more than that," Morrison said. "She does everything out of love for her husband. That's how I'm playing it."

Heugatter said many people also see the character of Macbeth as an anti-hero or a monster.

"In our production, we've taken a little bit of a different take on that and we are working to portray him as a good, brave and honest man who has solid noble values," she said. "His mistake is he yields to the power of supernatural suggestion and to the strong urgings of his wife."

Heugatter said by portraying Macbeth in this fashion, he becomes an everyman.

"He becomes one of us and, as audience members, we're able to see ourselves in the character of Macbeth," she said.

Morrison said Lady Macbeth is very complex.

"She has many different levels to her personality and it was difficult trying to get into finding those different levels in her and playing her," she said. "I was looking for a challenge, something to stretch my imagination and it has been a blast working with everyone and diving into this world of evil and craziness."

Heugatter said the sword battles are among the most exciting aspects of the production.

"We have a professional fight choreographer who has come in a and staged broad sword battles," she said. "This is a new step for our students because we don't often do much work with stage combat but they have taken on the combat training unbelievably well and the fights are epic and beautiful."

Gibbs said, "I think the audience will be surprised with the intensity and the caliber of these fights to where you're sitting on the edge of your seats."

Gibbs said there are about five or six different individual fights using broad swords, rapiers and quarter staffs.

"It culminates with a battle sequence with my character and McDuff ... and it's a perfect climax to a show that just builds and builds and builds to an essential breaking point," he said.

Gibbs said portraying Macbeth is challenging, yet rewarding.

"It's a real challenge but it's a very beneficial challenge to learn how to make this believable journey from somebody who starts out as an honorable, noble person and ends up destroying his life," he said.

What Macbeth
When 8pm Friday, Saturday, and Nov. 11-13; 2pm Sunday
Where Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport
Admission $10 for adults; $8 for senior citizens and military; $5 for non-Centenary students and children under 12. Group rates available with reservation
Information 318-869-5242

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.