Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to First Stage shall come against him!

I have always been intrigued by MacBeth and I have often touted it as my favorite Shakespearean tragedy. So it was a delight to experience a new telling of the traditional story through the energies of the First Stage Young Company. For more information on First Stage and the Young Company, see the links at the end of this response.

Now, first of all, don’t think that this a condensed version of MacBeth. The Young Company gives us a complete telling that runs well over two hours (plus an intermission) and all of the blood and gore and sword fights and speeches are for the most part intact. And like a modern Shakespeare company, First Stage relies on simple costuming, a lean modern stage, but most of all the resilience of the language…all in a theater in the round configuration! Despite their seeming youth, the company gives us an exciting and well told MacBeth!

Liam Jeninga and Angel Rivera in MACBETH. First Stage, 2022. Photo by Paul
Ruffolo.

I was thrilled by the mastery of the language here and the enthusiasm and energy exhibited by the entire cast. This is a daunting play for adults…there’s a lot of difficult dialogue to learn here and the Young Company nailed it. Of course the stand out is Liam Jeninga who portrays the title character. But Lady MacBeth, as depicted by Elisheva Scheuer, is certainly the matching paramour and villain!

: Elisheva Scheuer and Liam Jeninga in MACBETH. First Stage, 2022. Photo by Paul
Ruffolo.

It was amazing that we have a full cast for such an epic play. Some of my favorites were Angel Rivera as MacDuff, Zachary Nowacek as Duncan, and Aderyn Grace as Banquo. And no, I am not forgetting the Three Witches (they would cause me to boil boil and trouble if I did): Jonathan Edwards, Sabrina Borg, and Maya Thomure!

Jonathan Edwards in MACBETH. First Stage, 2022. Photo by Paul Ruffolo.

Director Marcella Kearns and Director of Young Company Matt Daniels have a lot to be proud of here…this is a masterful work all around!

First Stage’s MacBeth runs through April 3, 2022 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center but dates and times are limited.

This is a presentation that adults will enjoy. As I said earlier not much has been toned down; there is swordplay and stage blood and screaming and adult content…so it may not be suitable for youngsters. The theater in the round provides essentially stage side seating for everyone attending so you won’t miss any of the action!

Extra reading opportunities:

A link to order tickets and get more information.

An electronic PlayBill with clicks to find out more about the cast and company and play!

About the Young Company.

COVID safety policy is here.

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