After his award-winning 2006 CST debut as Hamlet, acclaimed Canadian classical actor Ben Carlson returns to CST's stage as Macbeth, joined by celebrated Chicago actress Karen Aldridge as Lady Macbeth. This powerful pair leads a cast of 30 in Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' long-awaited first production of Macbeth, Shakespeare's richly poetic drama of a marriage besieged by a relentless desire for power.
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes (includes intermission)
Pre•Amble: Listen to a scholar's half-hour introduction to the play. Each talk bridges the worlds of scholarship and performance, examining the play in its historical context and the interpretive choices made in the production.
Team Shakespeare Student Matinees of Macbeth are sponsored by Kraft Foods and Nuveen Investments, with additional support from Sheila Penrose and Ernie Mahaffey.
Macbeth is presented in the Jentes Family Auditorium.
As Macbeth and Banquo return home victorious from battle, they are met by three "Weird Sisters," who address Macbeth as "Thane of Cawdor" and "king of Scotland," but tell Banquo that it will be he who will father Scotland's future kings. Once Macbeth learns that he has been named Thane of Cawdor, he and Lady Macbeth plot the murder of their royal guest, King Duncan, despite Macbeth's deep misgivings. When the king's body is discovered, his sons flee the country and Macbeth is crowned king. Plagued by the witches' prophecies, Macbeth hires henchmen to murder Banquo and the family of Macduff, a powerful thane about whom the witches have warned him. Their path covered in blood, Lady Macbeth is tormented into madness. In the end, the prophecies all prove true, as Macbeth's evil is purged from Scotland. Duncan's son Malcolm returns and is crowned king.
– Contributed by the CST Education Department
A Scholar’s Perspective by Stuart Sherman
Stuart Sherman explores ideas of the future and of time that beckon and deceive Macbeth.
A Scholar’s Perspective by David Bevington
David Bevington considers the powers of darkness that pervades the world of the play.
Half-hour pre-show lectures are offered on selected weekend dates. Listen to a scholar give an overview of important scholarship and discuss some of the production choices.
Recorded Excerpts from Talk Back Discussions
Post-show discussions with the cast are held after Wednesday and student matinees. Recordings are updated throughout the run of the production.
Open Door: Audience Enrichment Programs
CST offers pre- or post-show programs with members of the cast or scholars: PreAmbles, Pub Cast Calls and Talk Backs.
Two stories in Holinshed’s Chronicles, serve as Shakespeare’s primary sources—one of King Duncan and the usurper Macbeth, and the other of King Duff, slain by Donwald and his ambitious wife.
The shortest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Macbeth’s history is shrouded in mysterious coincidences that lead some theater artists to believe the play is cursed.
Scholars, Authors and Artists on Macbeth
Reflections on the nature of ambition, evil, fate and the supernatural from Samuel Johnson, Bernard Shaw, Derek Jacobi and others.
Dueling Macbeths and the Astor Place Riots
When American actor Edwin Forrest and British actor William Macready appeared simultaneously in rival productions of Macbeth in New York City in 1849, the ensuing riots left at least 25 dead.
A portal to the world of Shakespeare, these selected internet sites lead further into the exploration of Shakespeare in performance, his life and times, the original texts, and much more.
An Actor's Process
Actor Ben Carlson, who plays Macbeth, periodically posts updates about the rehearsal process and performances.
From the Director
Director Barbara Gaines explains some of the early inspiration for her production of Macbeth.
From the Designer
Projection Designer Mike Tutaj discusses his approach to video design and his contributions to Macbeth.
The Process So Far
The Production Department began scheduling and coordinating the design process months before the start of rehearsals.