arts

Local theater prepares for Shakespeare opening



Magic, murder, blood, lust and sword fights are just some of the details Jennifer Whitaker said are part of the upcoming Monroe County Civic Theater’s production of
Shakspeare’s “Macbeth.”

The production is set to take place this weekend on the Third Street Park Stage with 7 p.m. shows Thursday through Saturday and a 3 p.m. showing Sunday. It’s a part of an annual series put on by the Monroe County Civic Theater called “Shakespeare in the Park” and is sponsored in part by Bloomington Parks and Recreation, World Wide Automotive and Carol Wilson.

“We’re celebrating the 26th year of the Monroe County Civic Theater in Bloomington,” said Sheila Butler, director of the play. “And Shakespeare in the Park has been a part of it for close to 20 years.”

The first Shakespeare in the Park production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” took place in 1990 at the Harmony School Outdoor Stage. Since then, the group has covered a wide variety of Shakespeare’s work including “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “Othello,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “King Lear.” The last time “Macbeth” was performed by this group was in 2004.

Butler proposed during a board meeting that “Macbeth” be put on again this year.

“My son got to be Macbeth years ago in high school, and I really liked the play then,” Butler said. “I thought it would be fun to direct and a good fit for our annual series.”

Butler also pointed out that this production has a few unique twists that will make it interesting for audience members.

“We’re incorporating living foliage in our production,” Butler said. “This means that we have people acting as trees in the play. We also have puppets, music, dancing and some interesting costumes and set design.”

The sets for this summer’s production were collected and constructed by members of the MCCT led by set builder Amy Luxenburger, who was inspired by German expressionist painting and film.

“We were going for something that incorporated jarring colors, forced perspectives and pretty much anything that looked unnatural,” Luxenburger said.

The set itself includes a large painted backdrop depicting a path into a tunnel, a window with red light coming through it and an arch to represent a part of the castle.

“We also have these trellises up front with a mixture of things on them to kind of set the scene for where the witches do their work,” Luxenburger said.

The trellises are painted with Anglo-Saxon runes and are adorned with tarot cards and feathers to give a “witchy” feel.

Luxenburger, like many of the other cast and crew, plays multiple roles in this production. In addition to being the set designer, she also plays a witch and the character Old Siward.

“Everyone here is a volunteer, so we have to wear multiple hats,” she said.
Community members interested in viewing the production are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets, relax and enjoy the show.

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