James Rowley (left) plays McDuff and Jason Etherington is Macbeth in the Emerald Pig Theatrical Society’s production of Macbeth

James Rowley (left) plays McDuff and Jason Etherington is Macbeth in the Emerald Pig Theatrical Society’s production of Macbeth

A midsummer’s nightmare for Macbeth

Emerald Pig Theatrical Society presents Shakespearean classic
in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

here’s nothing like a classic remake of a thriller to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

That’s the goal of the Emerald Pig Theatrical Society as it presents Macbeth, A Midsummer’s Nightmare as part of its Bard on the Bandstand series for the summer of 2013.

The play gets underway July 18 to 20 at Spirit Square in Pitt Meadows. Pre-show entertainment starts at 7 p.m. and the curtain rises at 8 p.m. There is also a matinee on Sunday, July 21 at 1 p.m.

The production then shifts to Maple Ridge’s Memorial Peace Park July 25 to 27, with show times starting at 8 p.m. It will conclude with a matinee Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m.

Considered one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays, Macbeth is a Scottish lord set on a dark path for power after a visit from three witches prophesying his assent to the crown. He, along with his wife, Lady Macbeth, plot and kill king Duncan and pin the murder on his guards.

As the crown passes to Macbeth, more treachery and murder ensues. Guilt of conscience overwhelms Lady Macbeth, leading to her own suicide, and the eventual death of Macbeth at the hands of nobleman Macduff, who succeeds him as king.

Cathie Young, director of the play, said while it is one of the Bard’s darker plays, the goal was to emphasize the witches and spirits that weave their way through the play.

“We wanted to focus on the magical, nightmarish ideas behind the play,” said Young. “We rate the play, P.S., for pretty scary. But I’m pretty sure you’ll see much worse in the theatres. Our goal is more to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”

While the subject may not something you may consider a family affair, Young said everyone at Emerald Pig wanted to ensure the production was a play the whole community can enjoy.

She said one of the ways was to incorporate youth into the production, playing imps and spirits.

“They’ve brought a real natural energy to the play. It’s exciting to see their imagination and just how natural it is. It’s so much fun,” said Young.

The play features Jason Etherington as Macbeth, Amy Starkey as Lady Macbeth, and James Rowley as Macduff. The play is truly a family affair for Rowley, as his wife Leanne Koehn plays Lady Macduff, and their two children, Zoe and Felix, play imps. The Emerald Pig production of Macbeth includes a cast of more than 35 actors, many playing more than one part.

Young said it’s been an honour to direct such a strong group, many of whom are seasoned actors who bring a wealth of experience and talent to the stage.

“It’s quite a polished and professional cast. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed,” she said.

Sharon Malone, president of Emerald Pig, said the play would also be impossible to perform without the dedicated work of those involved behind the curtain.

“They have worked tirelessly for countless hours behind the scenes, into the wee hours, for little more than a pat on the back and a thank you in the program,” said Malone. “They are the unsung heroes.”

Donate to the food bank

The production is free to the public. The Emerald Pig Theatrical Society is asking people to bring a nonperishable food item or cash donation for the Friends in Need Food Bank. Patrons are also encourage to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.