Shakespeare has been alive since the 1500s with beautiful pieces of poetry that feel different every time they’re read. It’s been portrayed through a stage for centuries, but this year, Shakespeare will be brought to the Camas High School in all dimensions.
In 1921, the idea of a stage model where the audience is around the performers was theorized by a man called Adolphe Appia. He was a Swiss architect who designed stage setups and proper lighting. The walls in a black box would commonly be painted black, thus making the “black box” feel to it. It also can go by the name of “experimental theater”.
But why go through all the efforts of making this stage when they could just use the original? Well, it’s simply because black box theater portrays a story so well with the audience right there next to them. “It’s like they’re in the same show together,” Mr. Kelly remarks.
He explains how audience involvement and relatability is intensified when the actors are just only a couple feet ahead of you. “When we see Shakespeare on a stage at a distance, it puts a distance between us and the language… Putting it in a black box takes that distance away.” Another person featured in Macbeth, Freshman Elizabeth Harris, a discusses on what it’s like for the audience and the actor to be that close. “It’s impossible to ignore someone that is right next to you, and so you have to almost include them in the scene like they’re extra.”
Yet still, performing three-dimensional rather than two is a difficult challenge on its own. Clayton Lukens, starring as “Macbeth” in the play, gives some insight on what it’s like performing. “A difficult part of it is trying to make a character move normally throughout the space while also making sure every side of the audience is getting everything.” He says by far, out of 28 showings he’s been in, Macbeth has been one of the hardest. But nonetheless, he is excited to present Shakespeare to CHS in this entirely new medium.
With the lack of stage sets and backdrops in a black box, one of the things that are focused on is the attire. “The costumes are going to be spectacular! We’re going with a sort of Victorian-Gothic look.” Mr. Kelly speaks enthusiastically about the costume design. Not only him, but many others are excited as well. “Because we can’t really put a set in black box the focus on the costumes is definitely a great idea.” Clayton muses. Elizabeth also adds, “Instead of set construction, we’re all making our own costumes.” The extravagant of costume design will be awe-striking to the audience, only more reason to witness this amazing production!
So make sure to come and witness this innovative way of Shakespeare! Showings will occur on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of November, along with the 15th, 16th, and 17th. They will all begin at 7 p.m, except for the 10th and 17th (those will be at 2 p.m.) Tickets are up for grabs already! They can be bought online here. So hurry now to purchase and enjoy the wonders of Macbeth in a whole new way!