A NoHo Arts theatre review of the Ghost Players’ production ”Macbeth,” written by William Shakespeare, directed by Catherine Leong and running through May 22 at Whitmore Lindley Theatre in the NoHo Arts District.
The Scottish play is considered an extraordinarily ambitious play to mount for a reason. It’s stressful, for both actor and audience. The characters are strange, dreamlike, and difficult to connect with. The story full of foreboding, catastrophic for all, and unrelenting. Yet, we are all still so fascinated by it. This dark, sad, brooding play is about madness and maniacal ambition.
The Ghost Players have set quite a feat for themselves then. So, to make things more difficult perhaps, they cast against type, against sex even and, by doing so, gave themselves a whole new window into this insane and treacherous world.
The role of Macbeth is played by Stephanie Leah Alkazian Zushi and, as she sets foot on the stage, we are at once aware that something different this way comes. In fact, the entire cast is hell-bent on proving that the gorgeous language and the apocalyptic situation could be turned on its head entirely and still hold us vividly in its spell.
Each role reversal is calculated not to distract us but to catapult us directly into the story. The Macduff played by Jade Luttner is made far more a hero by her tightly held energy, her silent heartbreak and her almost motherly fierceness. Lady Macbeth played by Christopher Lyons is calm and controlled, not unhinged and scattered, and therefore feels far more calculating and dangerous.
The entire cast is fully focused on the chaos of the story. With gorgeous Celtic laments to bring us to the Scottish place. Each movement specific, each moment pivotal and all increasing the pressure on us all.
“Macbeth” is a play that slowly tightens the screw. And even though you know what’s to come, the diabolical diorama still feels tremulous and unmade, as if anything can turn at any time. That’s the genius of the writing of course. And why Shakespeare can feel so relevant still.
The Ghost Players’ ”Macbeth” is a lovely production. The costumes, by the way, are truly excellent, which adds so much to a play where really hardly anything else on stage is ever necessary. The fights are believable, tense, gutty. The witches nasty, the plot filthy with the utter insanity of it.
It used to be so hard to imagine how anyone could expect this to work out, this coup the Macbeths concocted. As if no one would ever discover the truth somehow. But, of course, the dirtier the deed the deeper the stench…how incredibly topical.
Let’s support our local NoHo theatres and the innovative and artful people at The Ghost Players. See “Macbeth” and marvel in how small our world has truly come.
Macbeth: Stephanie Leah Alkazian Zushi
Lady Macbeth: Christopher Lyons
Banquo: D’Angelo Himes
Macduff: Jade Luttner
Lady Macduff: Iulia Brezeanu
Haco, Son of Macduff: Kiki Zushi
Duncan: Joe Choi
Malcolm: Brock Jones
Ross: Bethany Koulias
Lennox: Kevin Michael Shiley
Angus: Dwayne Cox
Siward: Bryce Lewis
Young Siward: Logan Douglas
The Druid: Christy Nevarez
Morrigan: Christina Gregory
Cailleach: Chelsea Enos
Brighid: Francesca Reggio
Running through May 22
Whitemore Lindley Theatre
11006 Magnolia Blvd. NoHo Arts District, CA 91601