Macbeth in Stride, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Every play has its genesis in an idea. What has a playwright read recently, seen in the world or encountered in other stories, whatever has been on their mind and won't let go. Many plays struggle to move past a sense of "I had an idea and it should be a show!" and fail to buttress that idea with enough theatrical scaffolding so that the piece always shows the seams, or fills too thin, or just falls flat. An idea isn't enough; you have to make it sing as theatre.
Rest assured, Whitney White had the idea, and she has made it sing with urgency and clarity on the Shakespeare Theatre Company stage.
|Chelsea Lee Williams, Stacey Sargeant, Ximone Rose, and Whitney White in MACBETH IN STRIDE. (Teresa Wood)|
White's script blends text directly from Macbeth with her own musical explorations of Lady Macbeth's journey in the play, and balanced with heightened reflections on the significance of the character in relation to the lives of women and other subjugated classes in our world. White makes the case for both how Lady Macbeth matters as a reflection of female ambition and exactly why that's not exactly a good thing.
In DC, we've seen White's work as a director, most notably for STC with her terrific production of James Baldwin's The Amen Corner, which I happily attended both in its original staging and when it was remounted later for STC. We've had less exposure to her work as a performer, and it's thrilling to know that she has this other wealth of talent that she brings to our theatre community, and to her work as one of STC's Associate Directors.
With Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar's direction of White's work and performance, Macbeth in Stride feels incredibly fresh and remarkably direct. It also feels like a triumph. I look forward to more of White's work with a real sense of anticipation, and want to make sure that I get to see a lot more of her here in DC.