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Pomona College ‘Macbeth’ bends gender norms

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Sheridan Lee
Staff Writer

The Pomona College theater department’s production of “Macbeth” opened March 6 in the Seaver Theatre.

It was a modern twist including rock music and gender bending casting.

“Macbeth” is one of Shakesphere’s greatest tragedies. It takes place in Scotland, where a general is approached by three witches, and is told a prophecy.

Over time Macbeth struggles with his morals, as he is consumed by his emotions and his judgement gets clouded.

Macbeth is a traditionally played by a man, but senior at Harvey Mudd College, Madeleine Kerr, was cast as Macbeth.

“It’s been done so many times, there is a certain vulnerability, and a masculinity without being masculine, qualities anyone can have.” Kerr said.

The play opens with three witches, two of them emerging from the crowd.

Their costumes were warm earth tones with orange, yellow, and brown – and veins up and down their arms, and faces.

Costumes over all were true to the 11th Century setting, with padded shoulders and plaid sashes.

The set remained the same through the production, a castle setting with six columns, trees, and three stairs. The backdrop would often change different colors according to the mood of the scene.

For lighting, often a spotlight was used.

Cast members would also walk through the crowd.

Macbeth’s “Dagger of the Mind” soliloquy was done under the spotlight. Kerr’s shadow was cast onto two of the columns during the scene, this added power as the shadows were sharp and large.

The second act opened with cast members dressed in all black crawling on all fours and screaming at the witches.

They moved in a zombie-like manner, dragging their limbs behind. They chanted, “hail king of Scotland” while moving in a circle, then suddenly exited the stage. Often, Macbeth would speak, and have a spotlight, but everyone in the background would freeze and have the lights dimmed on him.

“The tragedy of ‘Macbeth’ is not a 400-year-old relic and there is no right way to perform it,” said Diana Wyenn, the director of the production.

Lady Macbeth is a fierce, powerful character.

Senior Shringi Diva Vikram played the role of Lady Macbeth.

“It’s intimidating, it’s been done so many times,” Vikram said. “I wanted to play her as true to her as possible. I did not want to make her something she is not.”

There was a lot of attention to detail, like blood on the swords, blood on characters hands, and the stage fighting. The choreography for the stage fighting included sword fighting, and reenacting physical fights.

“I enjoyed all of the fight scenes, and the cauldron part because it was eerie and creepy,” said Emma Garcia, sophomore psychology and creative writing major at ULV.

Sheridan Lee can be reached at

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