October 30, 2016: The Massasoit Tribune
Alexis Soloski wrote an article for The Guardian in 2010 headlined “Macbeth’s witches or roaring chainsaws: how do you get your Halloween stage scares?” Director Andrew Child’s Massasoit Student ensemble answered that question this weekend at the Buckley Performing Arts Center.
Why not have both?
Now at its ripe old age of about 410, students breathed new life into the Bard’s iconic play. The Massasoit Student Ensemble performed the infamous “Scottish play” over a three-day Halloween weekend run, with plenty of fake blood to go around.
Andrew Child’s director’s note laid out his intention to explore some under investigated ideas of cultural obsession with fertility, as well as broadening the definition of a few characters, namely the “wayward sisters.”
“It was important to me,” Child’s said in his note to the audience, “that we explore something in the text other than the darkness and the violence we find readily accessible and almost necessary in associative imagery.”
Of course, there was still plenty of darkness and violence to be had.
The 90-minute adaptation of the Shakespeare classic received strong ovations from the audience filling ¾ of the smaller theater during a Saturday matinee at the Buckley Center. Guitar players, record players, and even yes, a roaring chainsaw were all employed to spice up the production while staying true to the work itself.
A stage crafted wheat field, audio effects, and a video screen back-dropping birds or dripping blood fit necessary occasions. The strong audio/visual set the ambiance for several stand out performances.
Casey Moore, now a three-play Massasoit veteran, balanced a subtle intensity in the lead role. Not to be outdone, was costar Hannah Teceno making her Massasoit debut, in a chilling portrayal of Lady Macbeth.
Ariel Wigfall stepped into the male role of Macduff convincingly, delivering understated monologue, as well as wielding the aforementioned chainsaw.
Hypnotizing performances from Heather Cunningham, Meghan Byrne, and Ally Madden playing the three witches rounded out the performance. Also, a nightmare vision led by Godwin Tumusiime’s Banquo, featuring dismembered dolls and shrieking babies’ cries, was haunting.
The cast, led by director Andrew Child surprised theater goers, while still delivering on the traditional elements expected in a Shakespearean performance. A fitting choice, with the perfect amount of macabre, as Halloween takes over New England.