Studio 58 freshens up Macbeth with an improv twist

Jessica Wagstaff rehearses a choreographed sword fight in preparation for Macbeth. Photo courtesy of Curtis Leblanc.
Jessica Wagstaff rehearses a choreographed sword fight in preparation for Macbeth.
Photo courtesy of Curtis Leblanc.

Studio 58 students filled plot holes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth by creating an improvised version that closed Feb. 9.

Second year acting students in the Studio 58 program take part in the Risky Nights series, which allows students to work with a professional director and create an original piece for an audience.

David C. Jones, a Studio 58 alumni and one of the top-20 improvisers in Canada according to the Vancouver Sun, produced the series.

“We found something very unique as we were studying the script,” said Jones. “We started to notice that there were some things that didn’t make sense, or there were things that you would think, ‘well that was lucky,’ so we decided to make the improv, for the most part, be about the problems with the script.”

Every show different than the night before

The audience played a heavy role in deciding what happened in each performance of the play.

On the Friday Feb. 7 performance, the setting changed to Penticton, Lady Macbeth was to act like Lord Voldemort and when Banquo needed an animal characteristic, a panther was the winning suggestion.

“Not only are they improvising but they’re constantly flipping back-and-forth between characters,” said Jones of the nine actors who took part.

Olivia Ann Hutt played Hecate who co-narrated the story along with the Porter and Lady Lennox, all of whom were killed early on.

Improv creates a unique experience

She described the show as one of a kind.

“It’s been a huge learning experience to do improv because we depend so hardily on the audiences and what they have to offer,” said Hutt.

Jessica Wagstaff was among the actors that jumped from character to character.

“You’re kind of just flying by the seat of your pants for a lot of it. It makes it really exciting, scarier I’d say than a normal theatre piece, but it’s super exciting,” said Wagstaff.

The rest of the cast included Alexandra Wever, Shauna Griffin, Derick Neumeier, Warren Abbott, Bailey Soleil Creed, Christine Reinfort and Joshua Ranville.

Actors responsible for production too

Collectively the cast was in charge of set building, production design and costumes.

There was no shortage of audience involvement in the unconventional theatre space.

The smaller room allowed people to immerse themselves in what the cast was telling them.

“They all did fantastic and they’re amazing in the show,” said Jones.


Reported by Madelyn Forsyth

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