They’ve doubled double the toil and trouble!
Four different theater companies will take on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in Brooklyn over the next month. The bloody tragedy about an ambitious Scottish general who murders his king and seizes the throne is popular with audiences, so it makes sense to stage it in the county of Kings hereafter, said the co-producer of one version.
“We’re in our fifth season, and we wanted to start out doing some of the hits,” said Paul Molnar, of South Brooklyn Shakespeare. “Macbeth seems a perfect fit, you have the supernatural, big fights, blood, and all the darkness that leads eventually to Macbeth’s fall.”
“Personally, it’s one of my favorite plays,” he added. “The fact that it’s happening a lot is not surprising, but to have four companies doing it is quite a coincidence.”
South Brooklyn Shakespeare is sponsored by the Park Slope bar South, which Molnar owns with his wife Dee Byrd-Molnar, who is directing the play. The group will premiere the tragedy on a stage in front of the bar, as part of the Fifth Avenue Summer Stroll. The actors will be costumed to evoke the 1970s, but will still carry swords to allow for the exciting fight scenes, and the show will bring its Stonehenge-esque sets to the Old Stone House for a follow-up run the next week.
South Brooklyn Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” outside South (629 Fifth Ave. between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope, www.south
“Macbeth” at the Old Stone House (336 Third St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope). Aug. 2–5 at 8 pm. Free.
The Brick Theater’s “Shakespare in the Theater” festival, running for most of August, includes two non-traditional adaptations of the Scottish Play.
“Macbeth: Thrice and Once,” is a stripped-down, one-hour version with three actors playing all the parts. Director J.W. Randall, who lives in Bushwick, adapted the show so that it can travel to schools, community centers, and prisons, with costumes and a set that can all fit in a suitcase. His version emphasizes the existential themes of the play, but also gives it a light touch, with the Porter’s comic monologue turned into a series of vaudeville-style knock-knock jokes.
“We use a lot of farce,” said Randall. “We’re using a lot of ritual, and a lot of vaudeville to tell this story.”
“Macbeth: Thrice and Once” at the Brick (575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 907–6189, www.brick
Another show at the Brick, “Macbeth: a Walking Shadow” goes in the opposite direction, drawing on the conventions of horror movies to present an especially bloody version of the tale of kings, witches, and murder.
“Macbeth: A Walking Shadow” at the Brick (575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 907–6189, www.brick
Rounding out the month is an outdoor production from the New York Classical Theatre. Actors dressed in Elizabethan garb will scamper across Brooklyn Bridge Park during the show, turning the Harbor View Lawn into the blasted Scottish heath and the upland trees into Birnam Wood, while audiences trail behind.
New York Classical Theatre’s “Macbeth” at Fulton Ferry Landing (Furman Street and Old Fulton Street in Dumbo, www.newyo