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a Drama
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Piedmont Park
ID# 1255

SHOWING : May 04, 2005 - May 08, 2005



Daniel May stars as the Scottish warrior. Free on the Lake Lawn of Piedmont Park. Same day tickets are needed. Tickets available beginning 10am at the Piedmont Park Visitors Center and the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University.

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Best version of Macbeth I've seen
by Shadrach
Saturday, May 7, 2005
I saw it last night and while half the time I was thinking of how my back was hurting because I was sitting on the lawn for 2 and a half hours, I was also really enjoying the play.

I loved the set design and how the actors incorporated every piece of it into the show, and I really liked the revolving platform in the center.

Daniel May was fantastic as Macbeth and his energy was really high for the entire play. I've heard of Joanna Mitchell before, but had never seen her anything before Macbeth. Brik Berkes as Macduff was also great. Scott Kayser was fantastic in every role he played, but I especially enjoyed his portrayal of the drunk porter.

But my FAVORITE characters to watch were the 3 witches. Rachel Craw, who I have previously worked with at the 24-Hour Plays, was probably my favorite one to watch, but Ismail and the other one (forgot her name) were also cool to watch, and they are on stage a LOT more than I remember in previous productions I've seen. I like how each actor brought his/her own uniqueness to the characters.

A couple of complaints, though:
- I would have preferred that they do the play without microphones. But I can forgive this since it is being done outdoors and in open air, meaning virtually no acoustics, so the sound of their voices wouldn't travel very far.
- most of what the actors were saying seemed to be directed at the audience rather at each other and the monologues and speeches sounded "canned".
- GSF should give out less tickets next time for lawn seating because those of us that were on blankets didn't really have a lot of wiggle room to move around (my back and butt were seriously hurting after 2 and a half hours). They really tried to cram as many blankets on the lawn as possible. Or they should at least allow chairs on the lawn like they do at Stone Mtn Park for the laser show.

The fight at the end of the play was REALLY awesome. It had me leaving Piedmont last night with a rush and I wish it had gone on a bit longer. Kudos to Fight Captain Chris Ensweiler (who was also good in the play) for some great fight choreography.

This was my first experience with Shake at the Lake (missed Midsummer last year) and I can't wait to see what next year will bring! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Fight Captain vs Fight Choreographer by one mans' opinion
This is not so much a comment on the review as it is a clarification of roles in bringing staged violence to a production.

Fight Captain is a cast member who on a night-to-night basis will make sure that the fights stay clean, safe and continue the vision of the fight choreographer.
Fight choreographer is the person who conceives and stages the fights. In this case GS is very fortunate to have one of the nations leading experts in this field, Mr. Drew Frascher as an Artistic Associate, and both Director and Fight Choreographer of this production.
It's a terrific evening out, and a top-notch production
by reginaldmcneely
Friday, May 6, 2005
Okay, I liked the production. It's very ambitious. Even more than the production, I like this level of theater being available in Atlanta, and especially in such a terrific outdoor venue as the Piedmont stage. The actors are top notch. The production is as professional as I've seen anywhere in Atlanta, which is even more impressive since it's outside in the park.

I've never been a fan of Macbeth. I've seen it four times before, and have never liked it. I never really understood the second half until I saw this production--and I'm an English teacher, so I'm supposed to know these things!

Strangely, the part of the play that I do understand, from the beginning until right after the murder of Duncan, didn't draw me in, though it was well-performed. Then I discovered why: Daniel May, as Macbeth, really turns on the gas when he's got blood all over his hands and torso. He shifted into a different gear. Brik Berkes as Macduff hits a very effective emotional peak when he is told about the slaughter of his wife and children. Brik's very real emotion at that point almost seemed out of place among the rest of the production's more melodramatic "stage emotion".

My only nitpick, before I continue praising the production, is that the actors never seemed to be talking with each other. In other words, the conversations didn't seem real. The reactions seemed staged, rather than genuine. The resonance of the actors' voice was frequently high and strident even if there was no reason for it. I also noticed they didn't look into each other's eyes. I have to think that makes a difference in relating with one another. I'd like the entire production, and the entire festival for that matter, to give some attention to behaving more naturally, like real people. I have to wonder if some of the scenes would have packed more punch if the actors were allowed to be quieter, play the transitions, and have more subtle, real reactions.

I was really happy with Witch #1 who really committed to the part and created her own very unique take on the role. Her affectations, while absurd, were always convincing and consistent with the character of the witch she was playing. She was very entertaining to watch. I'm also happy that the other witches didn't copy her affectations, and instead created very different characters--and in fact MADE each individual witch a unique character.

Speaking of the witches, they sure are involved in this show. They are pulling everyone's strings, especially Macbeth. I've never seen them so involved before. Usually they show up two or three times and that's that. I liked their involvement, but I'm left wondering why they were so involved? What's their stake in Macbeth's advancement and downfall? What do they get out of it?

I'm glad they didn't attempt the Scottish accents.

The swordfighting was very exciting.

The costumes were evocative.

The set was very interesting to look at. The actors climbed all over the thing, and that was fun to watch.

The lighting and especially the sound were very evocative and served to bed the action nicely and enhance the setting and drama of the play.

I had a very good time, and I'm very happy that GSF is making Shake and the Lake an annual event. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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