One of Two River Theater’s most popular education programs returns for the 6th year with the Bard’s dark tale of supernatural horror, ambition, scheming, prophecy, and murder—all in just 75 minutes, directed and designed by theater professionals, and performed and supported backstage by high school students.
A Little Shakespeare: Macbeth is adapted and directed by Sara Holdren, who also lent her educational and interpretative powers to last season’s A Little Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors. The laugh riot seen in 2018 makes way for a darker scene, when Scottish general Macbeth’s encounter with three mysterious witches starts a bloody quest for power and the throne.
In taking Macbeth down to just 75 minutes, Holdren trims away everything but the sheer brutality of the unstable Scottish landscape, keeping intact the terror of friend turning to foe, reason turning to madness, and powerful institutions revealing how fragile they really are.
In addition to the lords and witches onstage, local high schoolers help bring the production to life backstage as well, as Assistant Director and Stage Manager, Production Assistant, and assistants to each professional designer. Between the onstage talents and backstage magicians, A Little Shakespeare: Macbeth features students from the following high schools: Arts, Freehold Borough, Henry Hudson Regional, Howell, Matawan Regional, MCVTS East Brunswick, Middletown North and South, Red Bank Regional and Trinity Hall.
You don’t have to be a student, or know one of them involved in the production, to enjoy an A Little Shakespeare performance. The professional guidance combined with the talent of the young cast creates an experience unlike any you’ve seen before, with fresh enthusiasm and revelatory interpretations perhaps bolder than those sometimes favored by adult troupes. All are welcome to re-discover one of Shakespeare’s most popular works with A Little Shakespeare: Macbeth.
A Little Shakespeare: Macbeth runs from January 25–February 2 in the Marion Huber Theater. Tickets are $20 and $15 for those under the age of 12.
Photos by Yurik Lozano.