MacBeth was staged at Marycest College in Davenport, IA April 2005. Macbeth directed and fight choreographed by Aaron Sullivan-Bennin.

The cast

Paula Grady
The First Witch
The Porter at Castle Inverness
The First Murderer
The Doctor at Castle Dunsinane

Stephanie Burrough
The Second Witch
The Second Murderer
Young Siward, son to the Earl of Northumberland

Carrie Clark
The Third Witch
Seyton, an Officer at Castle Dunsinane
Young Macduff, daughter to the Thane of Fife

Peggy Freeman
The Thane of Angus
Lady Macduff

Jill Sullivan-Bennin
Duncan, Queen of Scotland
Fleance, son to the Thane of Lochquhaber
A Gentlewoman at Castle Dunsinane

Bryan Woods
Malcolm, son to the Queen of Scotland

Tracy Skaggs
The Thane of Ross

J.C. Luxton
Macbeth, Thane of Glamis

Andy Lord
Banquo, Thane of Lochquhaber
Siward, Earl of Northumberland

Denise Yoder
Lady Macbeth

Dan Kuhn
Macduff, Thane of Fife

And Introducing

Lance Hanson
The Thane of Lennox

Quad City Times review of MacBeth

Prenzie’s ‘Macbeth’ is intense

Ruby Nancy | Wednesday, April 06, 2005

“Macbeth,” the consummate Shakespearean work about violence and ambition, is sometimes called “the Scottish play” by skittish theater people who believe saying the play’s name aloud can bring a curse onto whatever production happens to be in the works at the time.

Conversely, the show fascinates actors in particular, since they are drawn to the rhythmic, sometimes gorgeously poetic language and to the character complexities. I think writers are also entranced by those same qualities.

Theater writers, though, face different challenges.

Reviewing some productions might convince us that the show (which does focus on Scottish characters) has the capacity to curse itself, as has happened (luckily) only once to me, and the sheer length of the work has the potential to make even a pretty decent production seem interminable. Loving this multi- layered script so much can create quite a bit of antipathy, too, when a version of it is poorly done and the flip side of that is the delicacy required to distinguish between a great work and a great performance.

I have truly been fortunate in regards to this, my favorite, play.

The Prenzie Players’ production of “Macbeth,” which runs only for the weekend, is the third time in a half-dozen years or so that this material has been presented in a way that really deserves an audience.

In each case, the shows have been very different as well. A production at St. Ambrose a few years back was grand, dark and mystical, and a Riverside Shakespeare Festival mounting of this tragedy a couple of summers ago was a brooding, intimate work.

This time around, the show is sleek and intense, a whirlwind of violence and dark ambition. Directed by Aaron Sullivan, a fine cast clad in modern, often slightly vampire-inspired, costumes that often involve long black trench coats delivers a high-energy performance that will give you the creeps. The dress rehearsal I saw early in the week still had a few timing lags to pick up, but for so early in the rehearsal process it had tremendous polish.

J.C. Luxton, who infuses the title role with a troubled consciousness, does quite good work, letting his character veer from sly and power-mad to troubled and regretful and then back again with what can only be described as a vengeance. While audiences will not always see a ghost when he does, the dagger that appears before him just might make you duck out of its way yourself. His uncommon mastery of the language and rhythms in this genre serve him well, and his performance delivers exactly what a true tragedy needs.

Though the overall level of work done by the other performers here is well above par, it is the women in the balance of the cast who stand out most.

Jill Sullivan-Bennin, who plays Duncan, the queen of Scotland (and a couple of other characters), is particularly excellent in this regal role. Likewise Paula Grady, Stephanie Burrows and Carrie Clark turn in dark, eerie performances as the Witches (and seven other roles between them) and Denise Yoder lets the murky depths erupt from Lady Macbeth with astonishing vehemence. Peggy Freeman also plays both the classy Lady MacDuff and a lanky, wine-swilling warlord with ease.

Too good to miss, and with too short of a run for everyone to possibly get to it this weekend, this “Macbeth” is must-see Shakespeare.