In its fifth season, the Shakespeare on the Vine Theatre Company presents William Shakespeare’s wicked tragedy “Macbeth,” with the famed couple at the center of the story in a gender reversal conceit. The play is performed on the outdoor Arden Stage at Brice Station Vineyards off Highway 4 east of Murphys.
Shakespeare on the Vine director Tara Kayton “has shaped a surprising and chilling piece of theater,” a release says. “Her interpretation crafts a world where women are warriors, gender is of no consequence and women often succeed to the position of king. This ‘Game of Thrones’-inspired medieval tragedy is full of swordplay, fate and witchcraft.”
“Macbeth” opens on Thursday, Aug. 1 at the winery.
Shakespeare’s play tells the story of a brave Scottish general, Macbeth. The play opens when Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches that one day she will become the ruler of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred into action by her husband, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for herself. She is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect herself from enmity and suspicion, she soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and her husband into the realms of madness and death.
Elyse Sharp portrays the title character Macbeth as a female warrior alongside Sean M. Lewis as her husband (not wife!) in the role of Lady Macbeth. Lillian McLeod, Vickie Hall and Hilary Schwartz help define the eerie, ever-present witches. Other gender reversals with female warriors include Traci Sky Sprague as the betrayed Banquo; Holly Johnston as the Thane of Lennox; and Candice Goodman as the Captain, as well as Lady Macduff and the hilarious Porter. Robbie Allen fights for his family’s revenge as a male Macduff, alongside the honorable Malcolm, played by Aidan O’Connell. Stephen Daly plays the murdered King Duncan, and Matt Hobgood is one of Duncan’s faithful followers, the Thane of Ross. Sheila Doyle plays the goddess Hecate and frightening apparition Zoe Fuqua, who punctuate the tale of witchcraft as the final fates of Scotland end this play with Abby Fuqua, Banquo’s daughter, Fleance becoming the new successor.
This season marks the company’s fifth at Brice Station Vineyards, after productions of “The Tempest” (2018), “Hamlet” (’17), “As You Like It” (’16) and “The Taming of the Shrew” (’15). The productions helped earn Brice Station the Calaveras Visitor’s Bureau’s Innovations in Tourism Award for Most Innovative Attraction and Most Innovative Business.
The amphitheater opens at 5:30 p.m. for picnic dinners. Wine and coffee are sold (no outside alcohol can be brought on the property).
“Macbeth” plays at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Aug. 1 to 24 at the winery at 3353 E. Highway 4, east of Murphys. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35 at bricestation.com/events/#shakespeare or 736-7238.