Photo by Clark Bender
Photo by Clark Bender

You may know the All-Stars Theatre Company as Shakespeare All-Stars—their educational outreach program. But “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and by either name they know their Shakespeare.

And they know “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s tragedy about ambition, murder, a rise to power and tragic downfall.

This production is well worth seeing and thinking about.

Ellen Cribbs, the director, chose to do “Macbeth” this season because it resonates with the themes of self-promotion and ambition which are prominent in our country today. “It helps to remember the potential pitfalls of putting your life in the hands of blind and greedy ambition. When politics only becomes about winning and leaders only care about power, nations are torn in two and fear drives every decision.”

Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan is only the first incident in a series of murders and tyrannies until Macduff is driven to exclaim “O Scotland, Scotland… O nation miserable.”

But how much is Macbeth in control of his destiny? Ellen’s vision “challenges how Macbeth responds to temptation and ambition. For example, had the witches not prophesied that Macbeth would be king—would he ever have even considered the possibility and gone down that bloody path?”

This production emphasizes the play’s mystical elements. The witches appear in many scenes where they are not written in, but they silently interact with the characters, for instance, crowning Macbeth and bringing in the ghost of Banquo. As Ellen says, “The witches are always lurking and interfering—not just with Macbeth, but with other characters in the show as well.”

Ellen says she is having “a wonderful experience” working on this production.

The production is enhanced with original music by composer Matt Beard. Live music with the bodhran (a Celtic drum), cello, and guitar adds wonderful atmosphere.

Photo by Jessica Woodburn
Photo by Jessica Woodburn

Epic sword fights choreographed by Ian Maryfield and Nick Villalon reinforce the battle scenes.

The production is aimed at audiences 13 years of age and older.

Directed by Ellen Cribbs
Stage Managed by Jessica Woodburn
Starring Chris Lysy as Macbeth, Jill Matel as Lady Macbeth, Clark Bender as Banquo, Ian Maryfield as MacDuff, Sam Cheeseman as Malcolm

February 17 through March 5
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 7 pm
Thursday, February 23rd at 9 am

Filament Theatre, 4041 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

General admission $15, students/seniors $10

For tickets: http://allstarsmacbeth.bpt.me/

Photo provided by All-Stars Theatre Company
Photo provided by All-Stars Theatre Company

Coming up: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) 

3 actors. 37 plays. 97 minutes.  A “madcap” condensation of all of Shakespeare’s plays

“Ellen Cribbs, Jill Matel, and Arin Mulvaney tackle all of Shakespeare’s plays and portray over 40 characters in this rollicking rollercoaster comedy first made famous by the Reduced Shakespeare Company.” Written by Reduced Shakespeare Company: Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield

 One show only on Shakespeare’s birthday: Sunday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm

Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave, Skokie, IL 60077

General admission $25, students/seniors $15

Tickets: www.skokietheatre.org/all-stars.html

Photo by Carma Lynn Park
Photo by Carma Lynn Park

Shakespeare Shorts!

Audiences of adults as well as children are entertained by the Shakespeare All-Stars’ touring performance Shakespeare Shorts! “a fast-paced, interactive montage of Shakespearean scenes, monologues, and songs.” Annmarie Handley saw them as part of the A Day in Avondale neighborhood festival. She reported that her daughter’s “eyes boggled as the moon stepped forward for his monologue and the narrator articulated her lines with authority.” Annmarie adds that Shakespeare All-Stars “were professional and congenial. It was obvious they love what they do.”

About All-Stars Theatre Company

Founded in 2009, the Company’s  mission is to: produce professional theatrical productions and workshops that enliven Shakespeare’s classic plays for veteran theatre-goers and new audiences alike.

Chicago Public Schools Vendor

Shakespeare All-Stars is a CPS vendor that has been selected as highly qualified in the areas of Workshops and Performances.

http://www.shakespeareallstars.com/

Shakespeare All-Stars