AHN goes Shakespearean with Asolo Theatre’s ‘Macbeth’


Asolo Repertory performers take turns answering questions from Academy students.

On Monday October 15,  Academy welcomed Asolo’s theatre production of Macbeth, the Shakespearean play, but with a few cuts and added details.  Visuals of Shakespeare’s words, characters, and props set the stage as the audience arrived to immerse themselves for 50 minutes  in Macbeth’s world of crime, passion,  greed, and revenge.

At the end of the performance, the Asolo Repertory actors, who are currently graduate students in the FSU program,  appeared for a question and answer session with Academy’s high school students, all of whom were amazed by their performance.

As the talkback began, the cast spoke first, asking the students if they understood the storyline and plot and if any of the students had read Macbeth before. Upperclasswomen raised their hands the most, especially the seniors who had recently studied the play.

The cast members were enthralled that most the audience knew the plot of this play and that no one was too confused on who played who. Then the time came for students to ask the questions. The first question came from the back of the room,  “How many children does McDuff have?” to Brendan Ragan, who played McDuff.

He answered, “There is no specific number, maybe three to four.”

Another stood out among the prior questions.  “What was the significance of the red glove, or gloves?” All cast members had their own input to this question. Yet they all ended with the same conclusion.

“The red gloves signified murder, guilt or a guilty conscience, generally blood.”

An example of the red glove was seen during the dinner party while Macbeth was King when Banquo’s ghost haunts him. Banquo’s hand covered in red glove signified the ghost and the guilt building up in Macbeth. One student found this technique interesting. She asked “Why did King Duncan wear sunglasses?” Jacob Cooper, the actor who played Duncan, thought for a moment before responding with his answer that

“The sunglasses were a symbol of dictatorship, power, and leadership and that  they differentiated Duncan from the other characters I portray in this play”.

To the question “What does born of woman’s mean?”  Jesse Dornan, actor for Macbeth, reminded the audience that the witches’ prophecies “For none of women born can kill Macbeth” meant that no one of his country could kill him if born naturally from his mother. The witches’ plan to deceive Macbeth came from the fact that McDuff wasn’t born of woman’s, he was born by C-section.

“Who was the character in the hood and what was his significance in the play?” asked the final questioner.

Brendan Ragan, also playing Fleance, tackled this question. “Fleance was Banquo’s son who was the rightful king of the land. He was the character who rode with Banquo when Macbeth’s guard attacked and killed Banquo.”

While Student Rush cards (cards from New Stages that allow students to attend these performances at FSU in Sarasota, for a discounted rate) were being handed out by the actors, the student body asked “Which cast had we seen?” “The Sound Cast” the actors replied.

Academy theatre junkies stayed behind for a quick Q&A session with the actors about the technical side of the production, and other opportunities. Ms. Melissa Cox, drama teacher here at Academy, asked the cast if they ever do workshops for specific performance aspects of theatre like projection, and stage presence. The cast said they’d be thrilled to do a workshop with the Academy theatre girls.

To find out more info on this group go on facebook and like Asolo Repertory Theater !