Tuesday 21st March 2006 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston's theatre was the venue for witchcraft, treachery and murder as the tragedy of Macbeth was played out for students.
Visually gripping, the pared-down performance was enhanced by the combination of just three actors plus minimal props for maximum impact. Staff and students were particularly impressed by the use of a screen upon which scenes were both projected and silhouetted, but the final swordfight proved to be the real show-stopper.
The hour-long drama was performed by the Katch 22 theatre company which has staged productions in more than 1,000 schools. Although shorter than the original Shakespeare classic, this production, adapted by Katch 22 founder, Steve Kray, contained all the main themes and was designed to appeal to the Year 8 students who are studying the text this year.
Ellis Creez, who played the title role, said: 'Bits have been chiselled off but nothing has been added. It's all in Shakespearean language, but some of it has been 'cartooned up' a little bit, just to make it accessible. The swordfight is my favourite part. Initially it did take a lot of practice – we can just about do it now!'
Lady Macbeth, aka Joanne Batt said: 'Students say that our productions do make sense to them and are quite clear. Everyone always likes the swordfight at the end!'
This staging gave students a chance to see 'the Scottish play' in a new light with its portrayal of power, politics and naked ambition.
Head of English, Rachel Steele said: 'Students always get far more out of seeing a performance than just reading the text, so this production really breathed life into the characters. The shortened adaptation was very powerful and served to pinpoint the major ideas which we wanted the students to focus on.'