A new production by University of Chester students considers whether or not Shakespeare’s Macbeth’s murderous behaviour was a consequence of witnessing the horrors of war. Although the bard refers directly to Lady Macbeth’s mental health and suicide, the university’s Thespian Society has chosen to focus on Macbeth’s mental state as he returns from successive conflicts.
All proceeds from ticket sales from the production on March 10-12 will be donated to the mental health charity, Mind.
The production is set in the immediate aftermath of World War One.
Although faithful to Shakespeare’s text, there are some surprises in store including a female Banquo and a male witch.
Thespian society president Thomas Sarrazin, from Bordeaux, said: “We picked the roaring twenties because we wanted to have a background which plays on the ambiguity of the supernatural. There is no ghost and no dagger, but Macbeth is a soldier, who is traumatised and suffering hallucinations.”
Callum Capjon, from Aylesbury, who directs the production, added: “We have moved it from the original 10th century setting to the 1920s, using the horror of the First World War to add to the depth and realism of Shakespeare’s work. Playing on the idea of Macbeth suffering from PTSD following brutal trench warfare, we have created a fresh and exciting interpretation of this incredible tragedy.”
Senior lecturer in English Dr Graham Atkin said: “It’s so worthwhile for people from different fields of study to come together for an extracurricular commitment such as this.
“It’s a very intense educational experience and one which can form long-term friendships.”
Community fundraising co-ordinator at Mind Emily Rayfield said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team for supporting Mind with this exciting event. Proceeds from the University of Chester student production of Macbeth will help us reach a point where anyone feels able to ask for, and access, the help they need. Money raised will fund our work such as the Mind Infoline, information and advice services, and the campaigning we do to secure a better deal for everybody who experiences a mental health problem.”
Macbeth take place from on March 10, 11 and 12 in the Beswick Building on the University’s Parkgate Road Campus in Chester starting at 7:30pm.
Tickets, priced £5 for adults and £3 for all students and concessions (under 16s and pensioners) can be bought online via http://shop.chestersu.com/macbeth-2044-p.asp
A limited number will be for sale on the door.