Section: Arts

Bard in the ‘bier: Green and Quam to perform Macbeth

Bard in the ‘bier: Green and Quam to perform Macbeth

By Victoria Ungvarsky

There is a common belief that saying “Macbeth” in a theater will bring bad luck to a production. But Shelby Green ’14 and Will Quam ’14 are not afraid of this superstition or the daunting task of tackling Shakespeare for their senior thesis production. Macbeth, the next show in the Kenyon College Dramatic Club’s season, premieres this Friday at the Hill Theater.

The tragedy, which explores politics, murder and power struggles in Scotland, is not a typical choice for a senior thesis. Originally, Green and Quam had no intention of delving into Shakespeare, as most senior acting theses are two-person shows in order to allow the graduating seniors the chance to highlight their performance skills. But after struggling to find a piece they both liked, Green had an idea.

“I came up to [Quam] one day and said, ‘What about Shakespeare?’” Green said, joking.

But they soon realized this would be the perfect opportunity for them to showcase their talents together. After all, one of the first classes that Green and Quam shared was “Verse Acting,” in which they explored Shakespeare’s work together. It seemed fitting that, after four years together, they would reunite to perform the Bard’s work for their thesis.

Macbeth was really the obvious choice because they have substantial parts for the both of us,” Green added. Quam plays Macbeth, a Scottish general consumed by his lust for power, and Green is the manipulative and ambitious Lady Macbeth.

But choosing to tackle Shakespeare was only the first step for a complicated but rewarding rehearsal process. The show features 16 actors — including one child — all with varying schedules. And that does not even conclude the dramaturg, makeup, set, sound, costume and light designers, and 11 members of the running crew.

“But it’s great. Because we’re getting to work with people we’ve worked with the past four years,” Quam said.

Quam and Green remain humble about the entire experience, appreciating the hard work everyone has contributed to this collaborative effort. “It’s our thesis, [but] everybody is taking ownership. We’re part of something bigger than just us,” Green said.

They praised their director, Greg Culley ’14, and production stage manager Molly McCleary ’14. “She is a force, and she’s making stuff happen,” Quam said of McCleary.

By Victoria Un

Despite the lively ensemble nature of this show, the play is still, at its core, a showpiece for the two actors. Although the experience has been hard, both Green and Quam say it has been rewarding.

“A big thing for me has been allowing myself … to make myself vulnerable,” Quam said. “Not just playing the quality of strong general fighting against the odds.”

Working with their advisor, Assistant Professor of Drama Ben Viccellio, has helped both actors actualize their roles throughout the process. Green and Quam meet with him once a week to go over notes about how to improve their performances.

“I know sometimes I come in thinking, ‘of course this is what is happening in the scene, this is what Macbeth feels in the scene.’ And then [Viccellio] will just ask that question and it will just all make sense,” Quam said.

“Or he derails something you’ve been thinking about the whole time and then you’re like, ‘this is another possibility,’” Green added.

After two months of rehearsal, Green and Quam are excited to finally present this singular and exciting show to an audience. Macbeth may not be the typical senior thesis, but the show is brimming with talent and a new take on a classic — superstition or not.

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