“Macbeth” will delight Shakespeare purists and contemporary “Game of Thrones” fans alike.

PICT Theatre’s October 9- 25 presentation of Macbeth features a large cast and novel concepts.

PICT 2014 FINAL MAILER INSIDE CS5 copy

Pittsburgh, PA, September 17, 2014- Bringing you the summer blockbuster of 1606 like never seen before, PICT Classic Theatre presents William Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, Macbeth, October 9- 25 at the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland. The “something wicked” that inspired the theme of PICT’s 2014 Season, Macbeth was selected to kick-start PICT’s new tradition of providing Pittsburgh with The Bard at his finest during the month of October.

“Between the joys of summer and before the bleakness of winter is the perfect time to enjoy Shakespeare,” claims PICT’s Artistic & Executive Director, Alan Stanford, who will direct this production of Macbeth. “Also, for students, we would like to help them to start off the academic year with the greatest dramatist the world has ever known.”

Apparently teachers and students are in agreement with this sentiment, because all student matinees for Macbeth, including one that was added to the schedule, are completely sold-out. PICT has now opened all of the regular performances to students in the hope that no one will miss this legendary tale of Shakespeare’s most wicked hero.

Macbeth is set in an age of barbarism. It is a play about warriors and witchcraft. It is a brutal world where the warrior rules, and ambition can be fulfilled by the sweep of the sword,” explains Stanford, who envisions the setting to be reminiscent of G.R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. “It is not a play about Scotland, so don’t expect tartan and highland flings. It’s a play about ambition.”

Emphasizing that point, Stanford has based the set off The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, a location that is steeped in Irish mythology and legend. His barbaric, militant vision of the classic play is completed by the unique style of stage fighting that will be employed throughout the production. Choreographed by Jim FitzGerald and Mark Thompson, audiences can expect action-packed battle scenes presented in slow-motion detail.

While Macbeth will not be performed in the traditional Elizabethan fashion, Stanford intends to interpret the play in a way that will be completely true to the text written by Shakespeare. Providing us with every-day phrases such as “One fell swoop,” “The be-all and the end-all,” “Come what may” and “Knock-Knock, who’s there,” the true star of PICT’s production will be the glorious language found in the pages of the manuscript.

Between the bewitching antics of the three witches and the infamous curse involving title of “the Scottish play,” Macbeth is the ultimate entertainment for the Halloween season. For that reason, PICT Classic Theatre’s annual gala will take place on the Eve of Halloween, Thursday, October 30, and will feature some inspiration from Macbeth, taking the title “PICT Plays… Witches and Wizards.”

PICT Classic Theatre is committed to the creation of high-quality, professional thought-provoking theatre of substance. We accomplish this mission by investing in and promotion the community and region, and by producing and presenting classics and the “modern” classics of Irish and world theatre. We continue to explore innovative ideas that showcase the emotional power of a play and its ability to stir the soul in unimaginable ways.

 

ABOUT MACBETH:

David Whalen returns to play Macbeth, with Gayle Pazerski as his Lady.

Spurred by the prophecies of three “black midnight hags,” a Scottish general, Macbeth, decides that fate is on his side and does whatever it takes to become King of Scotland. With the help of his wife, Lady Macbeth, he wreaks death and devastation to secure his throne.

This villainous anti-hero is played by long-time audience favorite, David Whalen, who returns for his ninth season and twenty-first production at PICT. Continuing to live up to his title as former Performer of the Year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he recently appeared in Of Mice and Men for The Rep. He has also appeared in Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh Public Theater, City Theatre, Quantum Theatre and barebones productions, where he played Joey in A Steady Rain and directed Take Me Out. He has played leading roles across the country, Europe, and in New York. Audiences world-wide may recognize him from the recent films The Fault in Our Stars and Jack Reacher. David will return to PICT in December for Great Expectations.

Macbeth’s deranged Lady will be portrayed by Gayle Pazerski, who appeared last year in PICT’s Don Juan Comes Back From the War and Sherlock Holmes & the Crucifer of Blood. Gayle has a BFA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky and studied in the graduate acting program at Rutgers University under William Esper. She has performed regionally in New York, Ohio, and West Virginia, and locally with Quantum Theatre, Bricolage, No Name Players, Caravan Theatre, Dog & Pony Show Theatricals and Arcade Comedy Theater.

Also returning to the PICT stage are both featured artists, Karen Baum and James FitzGerald.

Karen Baum takes on the role Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. She was recently seen at PICT as Edith in Blithe Spirit and Scarecrow in Woman and Scarecrow. Other memorable PICT performances include Cordelia in King Lear, the maid in Boston Marriage, and multiple roles in PICT’s 2013 production of Don Juan Comes Back from the War.

James will be portraying Ross. For PICT, he most recently played Him in Woman and Scarecrow, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot and Dr. Bradman in Blithe Spirit. Other Pittsburgh appearances include Charles Ives, Take Me Home at City Theatre, End of the Affair and Mouth-to-Mouth at Quantum Theater, and Our Town, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1776, The Royal Family and Born Yesterday at Pittsburgh Public Theater. James has performed sixteen seasons with Chicago Shakespeare Theater in addition to many other Chicago and off-Broadway credits, most notably Rose Rage directed by Edward Hall. He is also the recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards (Best Supporting Actor), a Jeff Citation (Best Actor), and an OE Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

PICT is also pleased to welcome back Martin Giles, Dylan Marquis Meyers and Justin R. G. Holcomb from September’s production, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Through the Somme.

Martin Giles is in his thirteenth year at PICT. Some of his popular PICT credits include Gogo in Waiting for Godot, The Kreutzer Sonata, The School for Lies and Ivanov and Afterplay in the Chekhov Celebration. He was also seen last year at Quantum Theater, where he directed John Gabriel Borkman and acted in Dream of Autumn.

Dylan Marquis Meyers recently graduated from The University of Pittsburgh as a Senior Theatre Arts Major. He has been seen in PICT’s Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest. Dylan has also performed at UP Stages, Oakland Shakespeare Company, OSC and Band of Brothers Shakespeare.

Playing Banquo is Justin R. G. Holcomb, who is in his second season at PICT after appearing last year as Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood. He has appeared off-Broadway in Channeling Kevin Spacey, Honor Bound and Monster (Pan Asian Rep), and he performed regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Gulfshore Playhouse and Mill Mountain Theatre. Justin holds a B.F.A. in musical theatre from the University of Oklahoma.

Director Alan Stanford envisions an inflated role for the three mischievous witches, played by Erin Whitcomb, Lily Davis and Cassidy Adkins. Functioning similarly to the chorus in a Greek tragedy, the witches will be present on stage more often than not. About the witches, Stanford says “They are the omnipresent speakers of truth, who deal in fate and demons. It is easy to summon demons. They are waiting for your call.”

Erin Whitcomb is making her PICT debut and received a BA in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. She has had the privilege of singing with Dolly Parton for her Nashville Flood Relief Effort in 2010.

Joining Erin is Lily Davis, who returns to the PICT stage after her performance as Mrs.Cowper-Cowper in Lady Windermere’s Fan. Lily lives in New York City and has performed with Ocean Professional Theatre Company on the Jersey Shore.

Also making her PICT debut is Cassidy Adkins, who graduated from Point Park University with a BA in Theatre Arts. This is not her first time working with PICT’s Artistic and Executive Director, however, as she acted as Assistant Director on The School for Scandal at Point Park University. She was recently seen on stage in WSF2 at Pittsburgh Fringe, which was the winner of Fringe Audience Favorite award.

Patrick Jordan, playing Macduff, is performing with PICT for the first time since Thomas Kilroy’s Henry in 2005. Patrick is the founder and the Artistic Director of barebones productions and was most recently seen in their productions of A Steady Rain and The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Patrick is a graduate of The University of Pittsburgh.

PICT is also pleased to welcome back Luke Halferty, who appeared last year in Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood and Lady Windermere’s Fan. Luke is currently pursuing a BFA in Acting from Point Park University, where his credits include Judd Fry in Oklahoma, Reverend Parris in The Crucible, Rowley in The School for Scandal, Dallas in The Outsiders and Mr. Lennox in Afternoon of the Elves. He also appeared at St. Vincent Summer Theatre in Too Many Cooks.

PICT is delighted to have a handful of actors making their PICT debut. Please join us in welcoming John Henry Steelman, David Bielewicz, Tom Driscoll, Alex Knell, Alex Noble and Amy Wooler.

 

Resources

William Shakespeare Biography
http://www.biography.com/people/macbeth-9390544#synopsis

What’s the story on the curse of Macbeth?
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2267/whats-the-story-on-the-curse-of-em-macbeth-em

10 Things You Didn’t Know About William Shakespeare
http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-william-shakespeare

 

FACT SHEET:

Performances:
Macbeth
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Alan Stanford
The Charity Randall Theatre inside the Stephen Foster Memorial
October 9 – 25, 2014

New from PICT Classic Theatre This Year:

  • WEDNESDAY 2PM MATINEE- October 22, 2014
  • What’s the BIG DEAL…about Macbeth? Package includes dinner and conversation about the play prior to the show. Thursday, October 23, 2014 beginning at 5:30 at Joe Mama’s.

Special Events:

  • Opening Night reception following the October 11 performance at 8pm. at The Porch (Free to ticketholders for the October 11 performance.)
  • Post-Show Talkback: Discussion and Q&A follow October 12 performance featuring fire-side chat with Heather Arnet from the Women and Girls Foundation.
  • Early Tuesday Happy Hour with free pizza at Joe Mama’s prior to the October 14 show (Free to ticketholders for October 14 performance.)
  • Pre-show lecture by the Artistic & Executive Director Alan Stanford from 7:00 to 7:30 before the October 15 performance. (Free and open to the public.)
  • What’s the BIG DEAL… about Macbeth? A special package combining dinner, conversation to enhance your show experience and your seat at the performance on Thursday, October 23.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation available Saturday, October 25, 2014 – 2pm matinee. (Ticket for performance required.)

PICT Classic Theatre (formerly known as Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre) is one of a handful of theatres in the U.S. still producing large cast, classic plays, preserving and promoting an important body of creative work. Operating on a budget of $1.2 million dollars, the company employs between 90-100 theatre artists, production technicians and artisans each year that participate in the production and presentation of classical theatre and the works of classical and contemporary Irish playwrights.  The organization believes classic theatre is relevant to modern life, bringing context and meaning to people’s lives, and is committed to a civic role through its education and outreach programs for seniors and young people, as well as enhancing the accessibility of its programming to reach diverse audiences.  PICT Classic Theatre is a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and proud member of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. PICT Classic Theatre performs in The Charity Randall and Henry Heymann Theatres inside the Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Avenue, Oakland all year round.