Macbeth adapted by local dramatists 

Jez Davess-Humphrey, Elliot Hay, and Olivia Pommier, all with young and propitious careers in theatre, star in a launch of Macbeth. The local portfolio company, Box Clever, premiered the play on 14th December 2023. 

Michael Wicherek's adaptation of the age-old cautionary tale sees comedic and colloquial enhancements including several feats of choreography. The 60-minute, 360° staging uses its 'intimate', three-member, multi-role cast to present the GCSE text in a way which is able to engage students. 

Olivia Pommier, who celebrates her professional debut with Box Clever, plays Macbeth's accomplice, Lady Macbeth. She serves as a good witch and support character for the tragic hero, and gives Lady Macbeth's best scenes the agonising prowess they deserve, including the famous suicide scene in Act 5. Several minor characters are played by Elliot Hay, including King Duncan and MacDuff nearer the end. The language he uses is an agile mix between Jacobean and modern, so every member of the audience can follow the play. Hay propagates a special aspect of this performance which is interactivity. Many audience members were “spurred on to prick the sides of their intent” and sit around the perimeter of the Riverhead studio stage. Some were even asked to briefly be a part of the scene. A great example of this would be when Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo and leaps toward it, while audience members would sit around the banquet table and feel the second-hand public humiliation from a nobleman's perspective. 

Then there is the hero, Macbeth himself, played by Jez Davess-Humphrey. He does an excellent job at allowing the audience to relate, but despise his tyrannous character by the end. His best scenes include the banquet scene, and his nihilistic soliloquy and final battle scene in Act 5. 

Despite this, some well-missed scenes were omitted; the cast could only "strut and fret one hour upon the stage". Consequentially, the porter scene, attention toward the final three equivocated prophecies, and the dramatic irony that came with that seemed to be truncated. Yet, it is still a wonder how the 2-3-hour long text could be condensed for the appetites of students, and still retain its main features and appeal. 

Box Clever have performed other well-known works of literature such as Romeo and Juliet, and Jekyll and Hyde across the country. For Macbeth, they rehearsed and cooperated with local school, King Edward VI's Grammar. Seeing a play that I originally perceived on a dull sheet of paper was inspiring, and it goes to show that physical theatre isn’t just something to learn about for exams: its forever relevant themes are something that children and adults alike can feel the inclination to engage with, and experience first-hand - in the audience or even as part of the cast or crew.