The witches mill about the stage listlessly as the audience enters. Random eerie music permeates the hall. Macbeth appears and the audience realizes that this, even for the eclectic Hubbard Hall Theater Company, is going to be different.
For this is a Macbeth dressed in tatters, his post-apocalyptic world ruled by primitive tribalism.
A risky choice by gifted director John Hadden, and not the only one he makes.
Hadden trusts the text and has no fear, even conceiving a stunning fever dream sequence within the play, accentuating his vision.
In this production, Macbeth is bound to his wife by something more intimate and mysterious than mere ambition.
Played with a blustery naïveté by Gino Constabile, Macbeth is no easy pushover for his formidable mate, brought to a life by Betsy Holt. In Ms. Holt's skillful hands Lady Macbeth is a desperate soul mate, kindling the flame of corruption that burns deeply in their bond.
The rest of this ensemble cast play multiple roles, weaving the story around Macbeth in a tightening noose.
Kudos to the group as a whole, for this is ensemble acting at its finest, vitally important in this bleak, almost egalitarian world that director Hadden has created.
Christine Decker, the gamest actor I've ever seen, takes on many roles and finely etches each one, even giving voice and heart to King Duncan. Reilly Hadden plays both Banquo and Macduff with a natural intelligence for these two very disparate characters.
The versatile Doug Ryan is a wonder, as is Robert Francis Forgett as a sly Malcolm.
Myka Plunkett, Catherine Seeley, Colleen Lovett and Scott Renzoni are all asked to deliver the goods on a variety of characters and do so admirably. This is an odd and powerful realizing of Macbeth. It is stripped to sinews and bones and all the more honest and poignant for it.
"By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes"
Macbeth performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. through March 24. Call 518-677-2495 for reservations.