Post-apocalyptic take on Macbeth comes to P.A.

Adreanna Boucher plays a witch enchanting Macbeth, played by Nathan Loitz, to grasp a knife during rehearsal Thursday. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

A new production of Macbeth is coming to the E.A. Rawlinson Centre, placing Shakespeare’s drama into a post-apocalyptic world of graffiti, machetes and industrial music.

Spark Theatre will be staging the classic play from Oct. 19 to 21. It’s director Roxanne Dicke’s first stab at Shakespeare. She said she wanted to make Macbeth “harsh,” “aggressive” and relevant to today’s world.

“I do believe very strongly that when you do Shakespeare, you really have to interpret it through a lens for your generation, what’s happening in the world around you,” she said.

So she placed Macbeth in the future, in a world torn apart by climate change and nuclear war. Instead of a castle, the action plays out in an abandoned warehouse, covered in spray-paint slogans like “Long Live Da King.”

Society has collapsed into tribalism, and survival depends on lining up to fight along with warring clans.

Dicke’s Macbeth is even more violent than the original. She added a battle scene and brought on two professional fight choreographers to make the bloodshed as realistic as possible.

She cast one of those choreographers, Nathan Loitz, to play the title role. In fact, her ideas for the staging grew out of conversations with the Fort McMurray-raised Loitz.

“I felt like he embodied the style of this, the punk, harsh, aggressive world,” she said. I thought it really worked with his acting style, but also with his fight skills.”

Loitz called Macbeth a “juicy” role, one he’s long dreamt of exploring.

“Even before I became an actor, I just thought this was such an amazing role,” he said. “It’s one of my favourite plays. And the character of Macbeth is so complex – he’s not a villain, he’s a tragic hero.”

For more on this story, see the weekend edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.