Is it safe for actors not to resort to calling Shakespeare’s grimmest tragedy the “Scottish play” if they’re speaking Polish? It would seem so, considering that Makbet is returning to Opus 40 this weekend for the second summer running, and the Dzieci Theater Company cast seems to have survived.
Based in Brooklyn, Dzieci characterizes itself as “an international experimental theater ensemble…dedicated to a search for the ‘sacred’ through the medium of theater.” Equally committed to both performance and service, Dzieci regularly acts in hospitals and a variety of institutional settings, believing that “helping others generates a profound healing effect that not only serves the patient, but also strengthens the ensemble’s work.”
Part of the troupe’s approach to theater-as-ritual is a fondness for developing site-specific staging for the plays in its repertoire. This production of Makbet will use the complex and many-layered beauty of Harvey Fite’s world-renowned sculpture to enhance the power of Shakespeare’s drama of love, ambition, betrayal and the supernatural. The audience actually follows the performers around Opus 40, and the scenes take on different auras as they move through different parts of the sculpture. Matt Mitler, Dzieci’s founder, says, “Dzieci has presented our Gypsy-infused take on Macbeth in countless alternative spaces, from cemeteries to shipping containers, but no location has had the sweep and monumental impact that Opus 40 does.”
Wherever it’s staged, this Makbet crosses conventional gender boundaries in its casting. It also incorporates Eastern European folk music and chants, with their often-otherworldly harmonics, into the performances.
The Dzieci Theater Company will perform Makbet on Saturday, July 7 at 6 p.m. at Opus 40, located at 50 Fite Road in High Woods, on the western frontier of Saugerties. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the gate.
This well-loved outdoor concert venue will double down on its newer identity as a theater space at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 29, when the Centenary Stage Company presents a 50th-anniversary celebration of the “tribal love/rock musical” Hair. For reservations and more info on both shows, call (845) 246-3400 or visit www.opus40.org.
Dzieci Theater Company’s Makbet, Saturday, July 7, 6 p.m., $15/$20, Opus 40, 50 Fite Road, Saugerties; (845) 246-3400, www.opus40.org.