Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Company takes modern look at 'Macbeth'

Shakespearian tragedy receives 1920s remake

June 23, 2005
Tod Humphrey, left, who plays Macbeth, duels Michael Mahoney, who plays Macduff, in a rehearsal of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" on Monday night at Valley Court Park, 201 Hillside Court. The two actors are a part of Sunsets with Shakespeare, a community theater group. They are practicing a scene in which Macduff takes revenge on Macbeth. This version of the play is set in the 1920s, but it has not been changed much, said Humphrey, a Lansing resident and letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. "Our appearance and costuming will carry (a modern) appeal," he said. Mahoney, an electrician from Laingsburg, said he enjoys being a part of the theater because it is "something I can obsess about. I don't do too many things halfway." —

Watch out Shakespeare fans, Macbeth isn't just delivering monologues anymore - he's packing some serious heat in Sunsets with Shakespeare.

The nonprofit theater company is putting on a 1920s version of William Shakespeare's tragic "Macbeth," complete with guns, blood and much more. It's a bloody tale of a Scottish lord whose thirst for power leads to his tragic demise.

Artistic Director Todd Heywood is one of the many people responsible for the creation of the theater company. After working professionally in theater, he said he decided in 1998 to bring high-quality productions to the Lansing area.

"There is absolutely no excuse for us not to have New York or Broadway quality productions in this area," Heywood said.

Sunsets with Shakespeare started in 1999 and grew out of another theater company, said Heywood. He also said the previous theater organization was retired because Sunsets with Shakespeare was more popular.

"This is a way of giving back to the community and a chance for us to introduce to people Shakespeare in a way that is not the old academic," Heywood said.

The lead role of Macbeth is played by MSU alumnus Tod Humphrey.

In the past two years, he has been perfecting his acting skills at the Second City Conservatory in Detroit and has taught acting to high schoolers.

Despite rehearsing, Humphrey is still feeling butterflies.

"'Nervous excitement' is the best way to describe it. This is the only Shakespearean play that I have ever done, and Macbeth doesn't shut up," Humphrey said. "For the whole third act he's running his mouth."

Still, he's not a newcomer, as is his co-star Lindsay Palinsky, an interdisciplinary studies in social science and professional writing sophomore, headlining as Lady Macbeth. Palinsky said she is elated about the opportunity.

"I'm really excited to play Lady Macbeth and to work with this company because it's like a family," she said.

Palinsky has never played Lady Macbeth, but was in a production of "Taming of the Shrew."

With two major roles and a family of cast members set to work, Heywood is convinced viewers are going to see something different.

"In this production, you'll see clear concise characters that are human beings," Heywood said. "We work very hard on making Shakespeare real."

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