As you contemplate US leadership in this election process, it is essential to check in with the bard: in play after play he asks, what makes for a solid, dependable ruler? Shakespeare's Macbeth, a towering character, shows more flaws and foibles than any tyrant in the public eye; fear and paranoia abound in his psyche. As performed by Ty Jones in the current Classical Theater of Harlem production at Marcus Garvey Park, under Carl Cofield's superb direction, he is also physical, sexually charged, an adept swordsman. And as his Lady Macbeth, Roslyn Ruff, gives as good as she gets, as this iconic political schemer. This is a great night of choreographed magic, betrayal and violence under the night sky.
For a recent steamy performance, the park was packed with a diverse crowd. A hip hop riff for openers offered a sly nod to Hamilton on Broadway. Even though this is one of Shakespeare's most well known tragedies, it is not without a comic voice professing to make the kingdom great again. The principals, clad in military garb, evoke visions of African warlords. Especially in a scene when MacDuff's wife and child are murdered, the child, with Kaden Kennedy Jones in the role, is a precocious boy in vivid red socks who playfully turns cartwheels, making the killing all the more heartless.
Leave it to CTH to tease out the contemporary in Shakespeare without sacrificing his poetry. This version of Macbeth epitomizes what CTH does to perfection, under Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director and David Roberts as Managing Director, and in association with City Parks Foundation's SummerStage Festival. With just a few performances left, don't miss it.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.