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Leon's Productions
Alice In Wonderland
The Hairy Ape
Martini Ceremony
Moby Dick (Norfolk)
The Sea
The Grapes Of Wrath
Moby Dick (Alaska)
The Tempest
Moby Dick (Japan)
MACBETH William Shakespeare
ODU Theatre, February 13 - March 1, 1998
Directed by Leon Ingulsrud
Text Director Christopher Hanna
Set by Konrad Winters
Lights by Phil Watson
Sound by Leon Ingulsrud/ Erin Harper
Costumes by Margaret Cheney

This was the second production that I did as a guest artist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk VA.

We did almost no cutting from the five act tragedy, and actually added back material that was sung during the Hecate scene. In addition to this we added a five minute "overture" and several other dance segments and songs. We still brought the show in under two and half hours with an intermission.

Directorially, my emphasis was on finding out as much as I could about Shakespeare's original theatrical intent, and trying to execute that intent with the tools of the nineties. This led to a reevaluation of the text and eventually a re-understanding of a play that I thought I already knew.

Director's Note:
What does Shakespeare have to do with life in America in the twilight years of the 20th Century? Specifically, why should we be attending a production of MACBETH in 1998? MACBETH was written, and originally performed in 1606 in a society that was in turmoil. 1603 had been a plague year; over 30 thousand people had died of the dreaded “black death”. In November 1605, a terrorist plot to literally blow up the British Parliament, came so close to succeeding that the possibility of complete anarchy became a tangible reality. King James and his bishops used the deliverance of the government from this ”Gunpowder Plot” as evidence of James’ divine right to the throne. Because the ”equivocating” Jesuits were seen as being responsible, those loyal to the Pope were hunted with fanatical fervor, and burned.
Fatal epidemics? Antigovernment terrorism? Bomb plots? Spin doctoring politicians? Religious fundamentalism? Are we talking about the beginning of the 17th Century or the end of the 20th?
Along with the bible that bears the name of Shakespeare's patron; King James, the works of Shakespeare contributed more to the English language as we have it, than any other source. As an English speaker, I am fiercely proud of Shakespeare. The beauty and sweep, profundity and humor of the Bard’s plays have no equal in English and stand up well against the poetry of any culture.
What we often forget is that Shakespeare was a consummate showman! He wrote and produced plays! He did everything in his power to entertain as well as enlighten his audience. Records of how these plays were performed by his company are sketchy. There is no extant performance tradition for Elizabethan theatre. What we do have is the words. The glorious glittering words! These words do not belong on the dusty shelves of literature. They belong in the bodies of actors; “the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time” who are alive in our age and live with us in our world. It is in the actor that we truly experience the contemporary power of Shakespeare.
The theatre is not a museum. It is not a mummy. It is animate with the pulse and heat of contemporary life. It is blown and buffeted by the storms of the present. It is ours and it is alive!

Leon Ingulsrud, Feb. 1998

Please feel free to contact Leon if you have any comments or questions.


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