Mac–don’t say!–Beth at Kalk Bay Theatre

29 Jun

You know how sometimes you go and see an amateur theatre production, and you can see that everyone’s worked really hard, and a few people are really talented and a few people just haven’t quite got it, and everything’s quite nice but really a bit average?

This is not the case at all with Mac-don’t-say-Beth by Mutual Friends Theatre Company. Not even a tiny little bit.

Brilliantly scripted, this is a fresh take on Shakespeare’s Scottish Play from the perspective of the witches, who are expertly constructed as a set of round, contrasting characters: one is academic and upwardly-mobile; another equally ambitious, yet spoilt and unwilling to get his feet dirty. A third is eccentric and anachronistically obsessed with showy spells and amulets, much to the disdain of the former two.

Another interesting aspect of Mac-don’t-say-Beth is its setting: the play begins with the witches demurely reading and drinking coffee around a Mondrian-style coffee-table and later features sword-carrying soldiers in army camouflage. This playful juggling of time periods adds an amusing element of surrealism to the production.

Anyone with experience of classroom psycho-socio-political analysis of Shakespeare’s characters will also be very entertained by the metatextual deconstruction of character motives present in the dialogue of Mac-don’t-say-Beth. We’ve all had to write a multitude of Shakespeare essays concerning why who did what to whom, but I found seeing a potential character analysis of Macbeth discussed on stage to be quite thought-provoking of how we – or at least our teachers – approach Shakespeare, transforming his art forms into a set of psychoanalyses.

Fresh, surreal and an epitomy of postmodern, Mac-don’t-say-Beth is a witty script of which writer Charis Anna Mostert can be very, very proud.

Such a script could not have been so dynamically brought to life, however, without a talented group of actors. Sean Habib, Charis Anna Mostert, Rachel Hastings, Jono Fitzgerald, David Bates and Wayne Habib gave an energetic and flawless performance. Each of the six actors appeared to have comfortably settled down within the shells of their characters: the flow of movement and dialogue was smooth and natural, and laughs from the audience came very easily as a result. Also very professional was the fact that no one actor pulled focus, keeping the energy on stage balanced, and the players’ interactions easy to watch.

Rachel Hastings (top left), Charis Anna Mostert (top right), Jono Fitzgerald (sprawled across table) and Wayne Habib (under the table) in Mac-don’t-say-Beth.

In addition, the set was beautiful (but then again, I am quite a sucker for Mondrian) and costumes so well-chosen as to appear as extensions of the characters within them. Also, the fake blood was very realistic. Charis Anna Mostert, I believe, is to credit for all these things.

All my hats (and I have lots of hats) go off to 19(!)-year-old Robyn Lea Smith for directing and producing this phenomenal production.

~

Mac-don’t-say-Beth will be showing again at Kalk Bay Theatre on Friday 29 June at 8pm and on Saturday 30 June at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets are R85, which is well worth it to reward this group of young dramatists for their hard work. (What were you going to use that money for anyway, coffee and smokes? Come now. Gather up every scrap of class you have and go and see some Shakespeare!)

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