Macbeth 101 - That Play

William Shakespeare adapted by Tom Gualtieri with Heather Hill
Midtown International Theatre Festival, New York

One thing that can be said about most Americans: nothing is sacred and everything is fair game. You cannot swing a cat in Times Square with hitting a Bard barb. There are productions from both ends of the professional spectrum; from the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacourt Theatre in Central Park to the long running “Donkey Show”. Some are heart-racingly brilliant. Some are noble attempts. Some are just barely recognizable as Shakespeare.

Performer/Writer, Tom Gualtieri and Director/Writer Heather Hill are the forces behind the one-man THAT PLAY, a primer on MACBETH, playing to sold-out houses at The Midtown International Theatre Festival, this year in the spanking new Abingdon Theatre Complex.

Mostly using the better and longer speeches tied together with humorous description and commentary, Tom Gaultieri gives us the one-hour version of what you need to know. Some of the speeches he actually nails. Some are lost in the endeavor to either keep the characters separate or make the production entertaining.

The lean and lithe Mr. Gualtieri takes on almost all of the roles from Lady Macbeth (“don’t you love a woman with a plan”) to the porter with varying degrees of success. Keeping the different characters distinct and easily recognizable has to have been his primary task. This he has accomplished flawlessly as when crossing back and forth, “Over here Macbeth! Over here Macduff! Here Macbeth! Here Macduff!” He gives you time, when needed, to catch up.

The one thing that truly makes this play stand out is the intricate music and sound by Erin Hill and lighting by Christopher T. Werner. They serve the play totally, flawlessly and without subtlety.

“That Play” is the definitive and ultimate “fringe” fare. Very palatable and extremely entertaining.

Reviewer: Catherine Henry Lamm

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