A perfect introduction to the Bard—for audiences of all ages! Experience the thrill and excitement of Macbeth in this 75-minute abridged production. The Bard’s language comes alive in a theatrical percussive world of swords, sound and the supernatural. Following each performance, audiences are welcome to join the cast for a post-show discussion.
A CST Family production. Most enjoyed by ages 10 and up.
Approximate Running Time: 75 minutes
Family programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
is supported, in part, by Harris Bank.
Short Shakespeare! Macbeth is presented in the Jentes Family Auditorium.
Three "Weird Sisters" await Macbeth and Banquo as the two warriors return
home, victorious from battle. The Witches greet them with strange prophecies:
Macbeth will be named Thane of Cawdor and king, though it will be Banquo
who fathers Scotland's future kings. The two friends soon discover that the first part
of the prophecy is, indeed, true: the treasonous Cawdor is executed, and Macbeth's
bravery earns him the new title from the grateful King Duncan.
Macbeth returns home, where Lady Macbeth presses him to take
destiny into his own hands by murdering the sleeping king, a guest in
their home that very night. In the morning, the king's body is found;
his sons flee and Macbeth is crowned king. Still, Macbeth cannot stop
thinking about the Weird Sisters' prophecy: it will be Banquo who
will father Scotland's royal line. Macbeth hires henchmen to slaughter
Banquo and his son Fleance, but the boy narrowly escapes. That
evening, the ghost of Banquo appears before the guilty king.
Tortured by his fears, Macbeth seeks out the Weird Sisters, and again
mistakes their cryptic prophecies as assurance of his success. Their
paths covered in blood, Lady Macbeth is tormented into madness as
Macbeth leads his country toward the abyss of civil war.
– Contributed by the CST Education Department
Activities for the Whole Family
These activities offer an opportunity for your family to get creative together about Macbeth, and bring some of the theater home!
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.
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 Charles Macready appeared simultaneously in rival productions of Macbeth in New York City in 1849, the ensuing riots left at least 22 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.