How does a hundreds-years-old drama about the monarchy of Scotland relate to today’s audiences?
When it’s about the dangers of what power can do to people – both those in possession of it and those affected by it.
The Black Hills Community Theatre will bring that timeless tale of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to life starting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Performing Arts Center in Rapid City.
The story itself — which was first printed in 1623, according to theatrehistory.com — is well-known: Macbeth, a military champion of two battles for his country, starts setting his sights on becoming king. His ambition begins getting the better of him, though, and destroys him and others around him.
Compare that story to today’s headlines and culture, and it’s not hard to see parallels.
“I do think for now particularly the fact that the play centers so much upon power and what people are willing to do to put themselves above others and how they are willing to compromise their belies and ideals in order to gain that power,” director Merlyn Sell said. “That does certainly seem to be resonant now more than ever.”
The audience will see the characters and scenes turn from heroic to tragedy, with costumes showing the physical signs of guilt and the lighting going from warm to cold, Sell said.
A focus of the production will be on warmer moments between the characters to make them more human. Sell, who has a Master of Literature in Shakespeare performance from Mary Baldwin College and has directed Shakespeare productions before, said the characters begin the play as good people and go through multiple points in which they could’ve made a different choice and averted what they become.
“It’s that possibility that really makes the story compelling and does speak across time to anybody that even the best of us can fall if we make the wrong choices,” she said.
Zach Curtis, the BHCT artistic director, will play Macbeth, and Marcia Kahler will portray Lady Macbeth. Other cast members include Jason Knox, Jeffrey Alan Smith, Ryan Puffer, Leslie Villa, Tae Swanson, Dave DeChristopher, Jeanette Pitts, Lacy Thormahlen, Larry Bolman, Amalia Hertel and David Andrews.
Further performances of “Macbeth” will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, 9-10 and 16-17, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 4, 11 and 18. Tickets are from $16 to $23 and can be purchased at bhct.org or the Performing Arts Center box office or by calling 394-1786.
Other area theater news
• The Hardrockin’ Drama Club will perform the comedic play “Anything to Declare?” at 7 p.m. Nov. 1-3 in the Surbeck Center Ballroom on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus. Cost is $5 for general admission and free for faculty, staff and students.
• Auditions for Seraphim Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” continue at 6 p.m. Oct. 30, at the Rushmore Mall in Rapid City. Children and adults of all ages are welcome to try out. The show will be Dec. 13-18.