Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Stage

Review: Jobsite's 'Macbeth' is powerful in an unwieldy world

From the moment the lights go up, Jobsite Theater's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth pits the Macbeths and the Macduffs against each other, each couple embracing on opposite sides of the small stage as if each pair was the wrong end of a magnet.

This tight cut of the Scottish play carries the theme of opposing but coexisting forces throughout, focusing on these two families and how they deal with the most elemental human emotions – ambition, vengeance, pride and greed. The play is boiled down to its most poignant parts, and it packs a big punch in the close quarters of the theater. It's a seamless adaptation by director David M. Jenkins that keeps a quick pace without sacrificing any integrity of the text.

But the concept gets a little unwieldy when handguns are discarded in favor of daggers.

A director's note in the playbill sets the production in a "modern fantasy world." It's just ambiguous enough to allow the creative team to take some liberties, which is what doing Shakespeare in 2013 is all about. But an ambiguous world still needs to be consistent.

In the first act, the only weapons used are daggers. Seems like the "modern fantasy world" setting could call for weapons a little more contemporary, but because pivotal scenes in Macbeth are contingent on hands being covered with blood, the daggers seemed justified. It would be a stretch if Lady Macbeth's "out damn spot" monologue was referencing gunshot residue.

But then at the top of the second act, Macbeth pulls a handgun on Banquo's ghost. It turns the tables and pulls you out of a world that just spent an hour establishing its parameters. It feels like someone changed the rules to Rock Paper Scissors by saying, "Okay, Fire is allowed now, and it beats everything." As strong as the cast, script and concept are, it's frustrating that they're bogged down with Jenkins' attempt to bring technology into the 17th century play.

The four swing actors, credited as the Powers, gracefully tackle the tall order of playing all of the supporting characters. Katrina Stevenson in particular shines as one of the "weird sisters" and Chris Holcom brings much-needed comic relief as the drunken porter. Giles Davies has an impressive understanding of and talent for Shakespeare's language, managing to make Macbeth a sympathetic character while his plan to take the crown spirals out of control. He works beautifully in tandem with Dahlia Legault (Lady Macbeth), who has an unsettling quiver of crazy in her voice from the moment she asks the spirits to "Unsex me here / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty."

A clever but distracting projection screen casts images of ghosts that appear to Macbeth when he last encounters the weird sisters. The multimedia concept is good, but when actors are saying lines in front of the screen as the characters being projected, it's jarring.

Jobsite's Macbeth is strong it its minimalism, clearly communicating the elemental themes your high school English teacher helped you sift through with powerful staging and an even stronger cast. It could be an entirely immersive experience if its world were better defined.

Comments
Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

ST. PETERSBURG — In some ways, the Florida Orchestra’s gala with Sting looked like other concerts of a mega-star. Most of the fans who packed the Mahaffey Theater bought their tickets the day they went on sale. They cheered and sang along at the open...
Published: 12/10/17
What’s on stage this week: Florida Orchestra happy hour concerts are back, Book of Mormon lottery

What’s on stage this week: Florida Orchestra happy hour concerts are back, Book of Mormon lottery

BACK ON TAP: HAPPY HOUR CONCERTSWith an opening year on the books, it looks like Happy Hour Concerts are here to stay. The Florida Orchestra figured last year it was time to create a user-friendly atmosphere geared to 9-to-5 commuters who could use t...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Live Oak Theatre Company presents Christmas show Dec. 15-16 in Brooksville

Live Oak Theatre Company presents Christmas show Dec. 15-16 in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — Singing Christmas carols, listening to stories while sitting in front of the fireplace, watching twinkling Christmas lights. For many, these are the feelings that trigger memories of Christmases past.Such memories will be reignited when...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/09/17
Musical take on miserly classic

Musical take on miserly classic

Photo courtesy of Jimmy FerraroThe new Millennium Theatre Company will present a musical production of What in the Dickens Happened To Scrooge? weekends, Dec. 9-17, at 10005 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. Show times are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
How to get $25 tickets to ‘Book of Mormon’ at the Straz Center

How to get $25 tickets to ‘Book of Mormon’ at the Straz Center

The Book of Mormon’s producers have made lower-priced tickets possible for a few lucky fans.To win a $25 ticket (that’s less than half of the starting price for seats), it’s safest to show up two and a half hours before curtain. One lottery entry per...
Published: 12/05/17
Orchestra delivers a stirring Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2

Orchestra delivers a stirring Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2

TAMPA — Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy a concert. I mean really, you can work yourself to death trying to figure out every nuance, as a critic or music aficionado. I don’t think Sergei Rachmaninoff, who described music as nonverbal po...
Published: 12/02/17
Our music critics wonder, how will Sting mesh with the Florida Orchestra?

Our music critics wonder, how will Sting mesh with the Florida Orchestra?

I was working construction the year Roxanne peaked on the Billboard charts and was playing all the time. With some of the more monotonous jobs, such as grading slabs, the radio is an important part of getting through it. I wasn’t into the Polic...
Published: 11/30/17
You should go see terrific ‘Fun Home’ at the Straz

You should go see terrific ‘Fun Home’ at the Straz

TAMPA The best open house this holiday season runs this week, but it’s not about nostalgia or sentiment. Fun Home tells a true story of the cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s upbringing in a lovingly dysfunctional family. The graphic novel of the same name ...
Published: 11/29/17
What’s hot on stage this week: ‘Avenue Q,’ ‘The Book of Mormon’

What’s hot on stage this week: ‘Avenue Q,’ ‘The Book of Mormon’

IT’S MAIN STREET NOW: AVENUE Q Avenue Q is back at Stageworks. The disarming, Sesame Street-style musical, with actors handling puppets continues to pack ’em in 13 years after taking top honors at the Tony Awards for best musical. The sc...
Published: 11/29/17
Starting next year, American Stage will admit patrons younger than 20 for free

Starting next year, American Stage will admit patrons younger than 20 for free

ST. PETERSBURG — High school and college kids aren’t known for having much money. Their budgets tend to rule out seeing professional theater, where tickets can run $25 and up. Now, there’s help. Starting Jan. 1, American Stage will admit theatergoers...
Published: 11/28/17