Macbeth Is Cut to Its Essence in Streamlined, One-Act Version at Main Street Theater

Even though Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's shortest plays, Main Street Theater will be putting on an 80-minute version with no intermission courtesy of visiting director and actor Guy Roberts in a co-production with the Prague Shakespeare Company.

"It really streamlines the play and focuses on the story of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth so for example Lady Mcduff is cut entirely. They're still killed but you hear about it off stage," says Roberts whose previous visits to Houston with Henry V and Richard III have been to great acclaim.

Roberts says this isn't an updated production, the actors don't come out in suits and holding guns but it's not strictly set in medieval Scotland either. "We're trying to sort of evoke a timeless, more universal sort of feel.

"Once the play starts we hopefully get the audience on this whirlwind of the action because it's kind of what happens to Macbeth. The play begins and once those witches speak that prophecy events just tumble forth almost seemingly out of control. Before we know what's happened, Lady Macbeth is dead and Macbeth is fighting for the crown."

And speaking of witches, yes they get to say "Double,double toil and trouble," and now there's nine of them instead of three. "The witches have a much larger role because they also double as the servants in the household so they're always there listening kind of in the background," Roberts says.

Roberts plays the title role with Jessica Boone playing his wife. At three performances actors David Wald and Bree Welch will play the leads. "Every actor is on stage the entire show until you die. Once you die you get to leave the stage," Roberts says.

"There's almost sort of the sense that perhaps the play is taking place on some seventh layer of hell because there's a magic ritual the witches perform to begin the show, sort of bringing the play to life."

Guy Roberts and Jessica Boone will play the leads in the following performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 27, Monday March 3, and Thursday, March 6; 8 p.m. Friday, February 28, Friday, March 7 and Saturday, March 8; and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2 and Sunday, March 9. David Wald and Bree Welch will play the leads at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 1 and at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 5 and Sunday, March 9. Main Street Theater, Rice Village, 2540 Times Boulevard. For information call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $20-$39.

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