Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble (QSE) will release their new radio play, ‘Macbeth in the Dark’, to audiences next month.
This new take on Shakespeare’s psychological tragedy ‘Macbeth’ will feature a cast of 10 actors playing over 25 different characters. Not only does the reinvigorated presentation fit perfectly in a pandemic world, but it also aims to present a classic theatre piece in a new digital format.
From September 4, audiences will be able to access the show from QSE’s website and are encouraged to listen to the play by candlelight, in low lighting, or in complete darkness. In this new adaptation and radio format, ‘Macbeth in the Dark’ plays on both the technical terms for a theatre that isn’t open and Macbeth’s dark themes.
QSE are no stranger to Shakespeare, having presented many productions annually at Roma Street Parklands. Artistic Director, Rob Pensalfini, commented that ‘Macbeth in the Dark’ was a move to ensure the ensemble kept creating during this difficult time.
“Much as in Shakespeare’s day, the plague happened. When the plague hit London, Shakespeare’s company did not sit idle; nor did Shakespeare write ‘King Lear’, that’s a myth, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t write a great work of literature in the last two months,” Pensalfini said.
“Instead, they adapted one of their plays and took it on the road with a smaller cast. Going on the road has not been an option in the current state, so we thought we’d adapt a play and take it to the airwaves instead, and in the process re-awaken a lost art form, the radio play.”
Although QSE are currently presenting physically distanced work, they are still maintaining their community connections. Core Ensemble members have collaborated with community partners (including, Arafmi, Communify, Group 61, and Red Cross Australia) to create online events for those who have previously connected with the group through programs such as ‘A Night At the Theatre’.
QSE’s expansion into the radio play format has opened up exciting opportunities for the ensemble to extend their performances into prisons, thus furthering their already established partnerships and renowned ‘Shakespeare Prison Project’.
‘Macbeth in the Dark’ will bring together actors, original music, and the sound engineering wizardry of Dominic Guilfoyle under the direction of one of Queensland’s most loved actors and voice artists, Kate Wilson.
‘Macbeth in the Dark’ will be available from 4 September – 4 November 2020. Audiences can access the production through Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble’s Website.