By Sue Suchyta
Shakespeare fans don’t expect to see soldiers in camouflage darting among the trees of a suburban park at dusk, but that’s exactly what the Water Works Theatre Company delivered when Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane, and sealed the fate of an overly ambitious Scottish king. The Water Works Theatre Company of Royal Oak continues its tradition of offering summer Shakespeare in Starr Jaycee Park with this year’s offering of Shakespeare’s Scottish play.
Theater folk are a superstitious lot: They tell each other to “break a leg” instead of wishing good luck, and they never utter, “Macbeth” out loud in a theater – they refer to it as “that Scottish play.” It’s kind of like saying “Voldemort” at Hogworts – it just isn’t done, and is considered very bad karma.
However, the theater gods were smiling on the talented troupe opening night as the strong cast (which includes many Hilberry alumni) brought the magic of “Macbeth” to life.
Jeff Thomakos is superb in the title role, and is well paired with Aphrodite Nikolovski as Lady Macbeth. Stephen Blackwell has a commanding stage presence as Banquo. Other standouts in the strong cast include Michael Brian Ogden as Macduff, Aaron Kirby as Malcolm, and Dylan Stuckey as Ross. Ogden also shared his considerable talent as the fight choreographer.
The three witches – Jennifer Hirsch, Caroline Price, and Cynthia Szczesny – are mesmerizing with chilling prophecies and evil incantations. Szczesny, a Dearborn resident, also humanized the role of the doctor who observes Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking, descent into madness and insatiable symbolic hand washing.
Jarod Clark, a talented 10-year-old from Royal Oak, plays both Fleance (Banquo’s son) and Macduff’s son. He made his stage debut as a baby in the Players Guild of Dearborn’s Guildling production of “Pocahontas.”
Familiarity with the Bard’s work will make the show easier to understand, but the drama and fast pace will appeal even to neophytes.
Starr Jaycee Park is on 13 Mile Road between Main and Crooks, two miles east of Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak. Take a blanket or short-backed lawn chairs, bug spray and a jacket. Bleacher seating also is available. Leave pets at home. The group’s weather policy is like a baseball game: they stop if it rains too much. Rain checks will be made available except for closing night.
The show continues Thursday to Sunday and Aug. 6 to 9. Curtain is at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15. Kids Free Sundays allow two children free admission per paying adult on Sundays.
Special Needs Children Learn About Theatre at the Guild
The Players Guild of Dearborn, in partnership with the Neighborhood Services Organization, will launch the Starshine Children’s Theatre Workshop for special needs children Aug. 3 to 6. Participating youth will end their weeklong learning experience with an onstage performance at 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Guild Theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn. There is no charge for admission to the performance. An afterglow will follow the show.
HFCC Presents ‘Playboy of the Western World’
Henry Ford Community College will present Synge’s satiric Irish comedy, “The Playboy of the Western World” at Henry Ford Centennial Library Auditorium Aug. 13 to 23. Directed by Christopher Brehmer, the play follows the mercurial rise and fall of a young man, Christy Mahon, whose self-reported murder of his father earns him much admiration until his father shows up alive and in pursuit of his cowardly son.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for students with identification. For more information or ticket reservations, call (313) 845-9817.