Swim Pony Performing Arts
Live Arts Festival
Theater / 90 minutes
Arts Bank at the University of the Arts
“I want this piece to feel like watching a gladiator battle or an athlete on the verge of collapse—visceral, dirty, and so intense you almost feel yourself standing up to scream back at what’s happening.”
“Affecting and thought-provoking.”
Photo: Mark Valenzuela
Enter the mind of Lady Macbeth.
With the help of a chorus of witches, Lady M reassembles the story of her life in Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Killing the king. The ghost at the table. The frenzied dances of the witches. Out damn spot. A battle is waged against Lady Macbeth's fate as she cycles the story around in a nightmare of bloodshed superimposed onto a background of vocal chaos.
Lady M highlights its demented anti-heroine, played by Barrymore Award winner Catharine Slusar, by heightening the text of Macbeth with voice and movement that is equally extreme. An all-female ensemble explores what might happen if Lady Macbeth summoned Shakespeare’s witches—expanded to a coven of ten,—for her own purposes. When called upon, the witches act out the play’s various roles, form moveable sets out of their bodies, and intone layered beds of sound to create a startling sonic backdrop. Like a hive of bees, they alternately serve and overtake their queen.
In short: dangerous ladies, stain removal, vocal chaos, ten witches, marital problems, bloody fate.
Adrienne Mackey, the founder Swim Pony Performing Arts, creates compelling theater through the power of the human voice and the forms of the human body. Lady M’s all-female chorus trained on a vocal technique that uses many kinds of voices—screams, yowls, trills, squeaks—to generate a vocal score. Previous Live Arts Festival show: Recitatif (2007). Previous Philly Fringe shows include: Purr, Pull, Reign (2009) and The Giant Squid (2008).
Conceived by Adrienne Mackey and Catharine Slusar Direction and Vocal Arrangements Adrienne Mackey Based on Shakespeare's Macbeth Additional Writing by Lauren Feldman and the ensemble Movement Jamie McKittrick Set Lisi Stoessel Lights Maria Shaplin Sound Daniel Perelstein Costumes Alisa Sickora Kleckner Performers Catharine Slusar with Mary Lee Bednarek, Kate Black-Regan, Amanda Damron, Karen Getz, Colleen Hughes, Kelly Jennings, Jamie McKittrick, Charlotte Northeast, Catherine Palfenier, Wendy Staton, Anna Watson
Appropriate for ages 14 and up.
* Post-show discussion on Sept 3 moderated by Lauren Feldman, collaborating writer, Lady M.
Lady M is made possible with support from the Wyncote Foundation, and with support from the Live Arts Brewery (LAB) programs, which are supported by The Kresge Foundation, the Independence Foundation, and The PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive. Lady M is also supported by The Charlotte Cushman Foundation Trustees in memory of their treasured colleague, Norma Testardi Egendorf Pomerantz.
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Photos by Lisi Stoessel and Mark Valenzuela