Modern day remakes of classic tales are becoming increasingly popular these days in film, television and on stage. Most recently, the travelling company called Third World Bunfight made headlines with their adaptation of Verdi’s opera, “Macbeth.”
On Sept. 16 and 17, Fairfield students and the surrounding community gathered at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts to see the American premiere of this production.
The production, directed by Brett Bailey, takes William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to new heights. The opera was originally composed in 1847 in Italian, the same language that this adaptation was performed in. However, with Third World Bunfight’s production, most of the dialogue was changed to reflect a more modern day vernacular.
While the original “Macbeth” and the subsequent opera were set in Scotland, the director of this production chose a different setting: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Throughout the show, scenes depicting the struggles of the people of this area were acted out. The piece is important because the conflicts in the eastern DRC have resulted in many of the violent deaths in the world, but are often overlooked.
The production starred actors and actresses who all hailed from South Africa. While introducing different soloists, the screen behind the actors told the audience about the actor’s origins. Most of the audience was excited by the concept, as well as the production making most of the actors’ solo numbers look like a pop concert, complete with a mirror ball and backup dancers.
Owen Metsileng headed the production as an impressively cold, but beautifully voiced Macbeth. However, the true star of the show was Nobulumko Mngxekeza as Lady Macbeth. Her beautiful soprano voice haunted the audience as she sang about her hunger for power. Additionally, her flare for drama truly captured the character of Lady Macbeth.
One of the most interesting character choices occurred in the final moments of the show as MacDuff, Macbeth’s killer who is traditionally played by a man, appeared as a woman. The decision challenged the usual plotline that Macduff’s killer was not “born of a woman,” but rather a caesarean section. Instead, they changed the element of surprise by making MacDuff female.
It was an honor for Fairfield that the company decided to start their American tour of the production in the Quick Center. It is an important piece due to the topics that it covers and can hopefully draw more attention to such a tragic issue.
The tour will continue around the U.S. and will stop next in Philadelphia. The production is outstanding and had every audience member on their feet at the end of the show. The twists and turns of the play ultimately embody the ideals of the original “Macbeth” while adding an original flavor that makes Third World Bunfight’s production stand out from the rest.