Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Unleashing forces of evil

Guns, journalists and a rusty Ford truck adorn the set of Northwestern’s production of “Macbeth.” Though written in the 1600s, the production still addresses modern issues.

“The story of Macbeth was speaking during a great time of fear and uncertainty we’re feeling now,” said Julieanne Ehre, Speech doctoral candidate and the show’s director. “The play begins in a world almost torn apart by war.”

A year before “Macbeth” was written in 1606, militant Jesuits in England planted kegs of gunpowder in the Protestant Parliament until their plan was foiled. Ehre easily recognized the similarities between the 400-year-old incident and the recent tragedy of Sept. 11.

The play depicts a struggle to understand the chaos of a disillusioned world. The title character, originally an obedient soldier, hears a prediction from three witches that he will become the king of England. Unable to deal with his forecasted royalty, and encouraged by his wife, Macbeth murders the current king.

“He’s so much more than a villain. He’s a poet, philosopher, and lover,” said Speech junior Joe Tuttle, who refers to his title character as a “poet warrior.” “He’s a husband of rising ranks and his wife wants more.”

Setting the play in a post-apocalyptic world enhances the urgency of the circumstances driving the characters to their eventual fates. To place the play’s violence in this desolate time, murders are committed on the hood of the Ford while fights ensue on a deserted car seat.

“I don’t think he’s unlike any man today, ” Tuttle said. “So many outside elements are pushing him. It’s not just ambition; he was supposed to be king.”

Lady Macbeth, often portrayed as the catalyst of the tragedy, is no more of a villain.

“To me, she’s a very lonely person grasping for a place to belong,” said Speech junior Tempe Thomas, who plays Lady Macbeth. “She’s been commissioned by a calling to become queen.”

Ehre didn’t want the play to identify any sort of “evil culprit.” Instead, it contemplates the forces that drive people to commit evil acts.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Unleashing forces of evil