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Macbeth presents unique setup

Macbeth featured several fight scenes that had to be choreographed in advance.
Photo: Melia Covington

The Bob Jones University theatre department presented William Shakespeare’s Macbeth on April 21-23 in Rodeheaver Auditorium. Sylvia Lafferman, a graduate assistant studying for a master’s degree in theatre, directed the play.

The performances were held at 7 p.m. each day with an additional 2 p.m. showing on April 23.

The production used a setup known as runway style, in which the audience sat on two opposing sides of the main stage in Rodeheaver, placing them close to the action.

The story, which features a lot of action, centers on the paranoia that consumes Macbeth, leading to several key fight scenes. Driven by a prophecy that he will be king of Scotland, he engages in escalating tragic bloodshed as he seeks to gain power.

Eric Lane, a junior theatre major, said he had been looking forward to playing Macbeth before the performance. “I’m so excited, especially for all the combat scenes,” Lain said. John Cox, a faculty member in the theatre department of the Division of Communication, helped the cast choreograph the fight scenes.

Lafferman said her favorite part of the production was working with the actors and crew members. “I love getting to build characters with them,” Lafferman said. “Everyone has truly put their soul into this play, and it has been wonderful getting to work so closely with this team.”

“As a first-time director, it’s really cool seeing your vision just come together,” Lafferman said.

Lain agreed that he most enjoyed the camaraderie of the crew. “The whole … cast, the crew, they’re all amazing people,” he said. “I love working with all of them. I think that we’ve got a really good connection between us as a group.”

The cast started rehearsals in January 2022, but Lafferman started studying the script in April 2021. She said she had to carefully work through thorough characters, their relationships and the plot development to ensure she fully understood the story.

Meetra Moyer, who served as stage manager for the production, said the play’s unique runway set up created obstacles to practice. Earlier productions, such as Samson et Dalila and Living Gallery, occupied Rodeheaver’s stage space until the final days before Macbeth’s opening.

Moyer said the play was more accessible than some students may have thought. “It’s a beautiful, bloody story about power and love,” Moyer said. “And, you know, it’s just a great adventure story. Yes, it’s Shakespeare, but you get into it. It’s not like there’s a language barrier. You know what’s happening.”