Home Official News Releases Drake Theatre presents a post-apocalyptic ‘Macbeth’

Drake Theatre presents a post-apocalyptic ‘Macbeth’

Photo of students in
Emily Draffen plays Siward and Jack Sharkey stars as Macbeth in Drake’s production. The witches in the background are played by Marnie Strate, Makha Mthembu and Whitney Rhodes.

CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Drake University Theatre will present an adaptation of “Macbeth” that sets William Shakespeare’s tragedy seven years in the future, following a series of terrorist attacks that destroy America’s power supply.

After the attacks, the stockpile of processed energy runs out. The economy collapses, government disintegrates and starvation spreads. The breakdown of the established order enables a new leader with unbridled ambition to come to power.

“Macbeth” is a play about getting and keeping power, said Director and Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Michael A. Rothmayer. “Without a foundation, the people are vulnerable to the will of any new leader or idea that promises to improve the current state.”

Rothmayer said he would have balked at the idea of setting the play in the future prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Among the many lessons we have learned in this post-9-11 era,” he said, “is that no nation, including ours, is untouchable or invulnerable.”

Adapting Shakespeare: Relevance and the auteur

In adapting “Macbeth” for the production, Rothmayer said his first priority was to make the play feasible for Drake’s theatre department. “This meant cutting or combining roles in the original play, as well as changing the gender of certain characters,” he added.

“Aside from necessary changes to personal pronouns, however, I decided not to update the words themselves. I have not altered references to proper names and places, either. Characters still speak Shakespeare’s prose and pentameter. They still make references to Scotland and England. Changing the language, in my mind, goes beyond re-visioning the play and crosses too boldly into the territory of rewriting the play.”

Performances start Thursday, April 3

Drake’s production will open Thursday, April 3, and continue through Sunday, April 6, in the Performing Arts Hall of the Harmon Fine Arts Center, 25th Street and Carpenter Avenue. Performances will start at 8 p.m. April 3, 4  and 5, and at 2 p.m. on April 5 and 6.

The play contains mature content and may not be suitable for small children.

Pre-theatre dinner and talk set for Friday, April 4

Rothmayer will be the featured speaker at a pre-theatre dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, April 4, in Levitt Hall in Old Main, 2507 University Ave. The performance will follow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for the dinner, talk and play. Reservations are required due to limited seating. For reservations, call 515-271-3147 or send an e-mail to alumni.rspv@drake.edu.

Tickets for the play are $6 for the general public and $4 for students and senior citizens and those with a Drake ID. They are available at the Drake Fine Arts Box Office. Reservations may be made in person or by calling 515-271-3841.