A Portland, Maine-based theater company committed to performing the classics of theater in open-air settings with basic props will be performing The Tragedy of Macbeth on Bowdoin’s quad. Performances are free and will be staged four consecutive Thursdays at 6 p.m. beginning July 19.
Assistant Professor of Theater Abigail Killeen, who plays Lady Macbeth, says by avoiding fancy sets, the Fenix Theatre Co. keeps costs down and focuses more on the text and the acting.
The actors, stage managers and the sound technician (who arrived with pots and pans and a few pieces of wood) rehearsed at Bowdoin for the first time Sunday evening. They scoped out the quad for the best potential stage, settling quickly on the dramatic backdrop of the Museum of Art.
Fenix Theatre Co. was formed five years ago, and has in past summers staged Two Gentlemen of Verona, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Waiting for Godot.
“We’re drawn to do quality work by people we love, artists whose work we respect,” Producing Artistic Director Rob Cameron said. “We love Shakespeare, we love the classics, and we want to perform them for the public for free.” Typically the company asks for donations, but the Bowdoin performance has been subsidized by the College.
This is the first time the company has performed at Bowdoin, and the first time it has put on a Shakespearean tragedy. “Lots of components in [Macbeth] are interesting,” Cameron said. “Like the dark ambition and how that corrupts. We wanted to play with that and swim around in that.”
The company will offer several performances of Macbeth over the next three weeks, both at Bowdoin and at Deering Oaks Park in Portland. Bowdoin performances will be held at 6 p.m. on the four Thursdays between July 19 and August 9. Performances in Deering Oaks Park will be Fridays and Saturdays, July 20 to August 11, at 6:30.
The audience is encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and sunscreen, and to enjoy the play, which is just over one hour.
“It’s 70 minutes of some of the most beautiful text ever written, performed by passionate and committed actors,” Killeen said. “Don’t tell me you’d rather stay at home and watch reruns.”
The Museum of Art will remain open until 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, so that audience members may visit the newly opened exhibition, William Wegman: Hello Nature after watching Macbeth on the Terrace.