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Macbeth Press Release

The Wilma Theater opens its 2010 – 2011 Season with Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, directed by Blanka Zizka
First-ever Shakespeare production at the Wilma
September 29 to November 7, 2010

PHILADELPHIA – The Wilma Theater opens its 2010 – 2011 Season with a new production of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, directed by Blanka Zizka. After 31 seasons of groundbreaking theater, the Wilma presents its first-ever production of Shakespeare with an ambitious staging of the Bard’s final great tragedy. Macbeth begins previews on September 29, opens on October 6, and closes on November 7, 2010.

Tempted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches, Macbeth’s ambition to be King of Scotland leads him into a nightmarish world of evil, deceit, and murder. Monstrous actions run rampant as he and Lady Macbeth lose themselves to unstoppable drives of savagery and political atrocity. Featuring spectacular choreography, original music, and stunning visuals, this classic tale of power and madness promises to be like nothing audiences have ever seen on the Wilma’s stage.

“I was very much inspired by an anonymous diary, A Woman in Berlin,” says director Blanka Zizka. “The author captures in the most unsentimental fashion the destruction of Berlin in the last weeks of World War II. For that reason, our production starts in the moment of history when a modern civilization is crumbling, the time is moving backwards, tribal impulses come to surface, raw ambitions and desires roam free, and disorder and chaos give rise to renewed beliefs, superstitions and witchcraft.”

Zizka’s approach to the play has been developed through a combination of factors. In addition to A Woman in Berlin, she intensely studied other approaches to the play through its history. Marvin Rosenberg’s encyclopedic study The Masks of Macbeth was particularly useful for his idea of looking at the play as a naïve reader or spectator and his emphasis on the play’s “polyphony” – the multiplicity of voices and images within the play. A final important influence was a workshop she attended this summer led by legendary Shakespearean voice teacher Cicely Berry of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which reinforced Rosenberg’s intellectual appreciation of the play’s polyphony in the visceral experience of the actor.

Zizka’s approach to the play is being further realized by her artistic collaborators. Mimi Lien, a frequent collaborator, designed the set with strong dichotomies of space - dark and light, open and closed, real and imagined. Since the set is abstract and poetic, costume designer Oana Botez-Ban’s costumes suggest time, space, and mood. Choreographer Brian Sanders, whose new work Sanctuary will be part of the 2010 Live Arts Festival, will help develop and define the elusive characters of Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters. Sanders’ work has an athleticism and acrobatic fearlessness that will bring out the kinetic energy in the characters of the sisters. Czech percussionist and composer Pavel Fajt’s original music complements Sanders’s work. A leading figure in Czech rock and alternative music for nearly 20 years, Fajt’s music exhibits a primal drive, that when coupled with strong visual presentation and movement, will propel the dramatic rhythm embedded in the script, while also evoking the strong and deep desires that are underlying the play’s action.

About the Cast
The title roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are played by CJ Wilson and Jacqueline Antaramian, This is Mr. Wilson’s debut on the Wilma stage. His acting credits also include A Steady Rain, Festen, Henry IV, Long Day's Journey into Night, and The Best Man on Broadway. Off-Broadway credits include Happy Now? at Primary Stages, OFFICES and The Voysey Inheritance at Atlantic Theatre, and Race at the Classic Stage Company.

Jacqueline Antaramian returns to the Wilma stage as Lady Macbeth. Antaramian has been seen at the Wilma in 9 Parts of Desire, for which she won a Barrymore Award for Best Actress (2006), and she was also nominated for Best Supporting Role for her portrayal of Jihane and Nawal (age 40-45) in the Wilma’s 2009 production of Scorched.

Macbeth’s 20-member cast includes Ames Adamson as Ross/Porter, Nako Adodoadji as Weird Sister, Krista Apple (previous Wilma credits: Leaving, 2010, The Life of Galileo, 2007) as Weird Sister and Lady Macduff, Robert DaPonte as Donalbain, John Jarboe as Bloody Sergeant, Rachael Joffred as Weird Sister, Albert Jones as Macduff, Kevin Meehan as Lennox, Michael Rudko (previous Wilma credit: Night and Day, 2004) as Duncan, Lindsay Smiling (previous Wilma credits: Jesus Hopped the A Train, 2004, Resurrection Blues, 2003) as Banquo, Luigi Sottile (previous Wilma credit: Leaving, 2010) as Malcolm, Ed Swidey as Angus.

The ensemble includes Mark Cairns, John Greenbaum, Ian Sullivan, Joshua Dingle and young actors Antonio J. Dandridge (previous Wilma credit: Coming Home, 2009), and Avery Garlic.

About the Director
Blanka Zizka has been the Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater since 1981. Her most recent production was the World Premiere production of Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms; her productions of Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched and Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll garnered 17 Barrymore nominations last season. She recently directed Leoš Janáček’s opera Kát’a Kabanová for the Academy of Vocal Arts, as well as Ariel Dorfman’s The Other Side, starring Rosemary Harris and John Cullum at Manhattan Theatre Club.

At the Wilma, her credits include the U.S. Premiere of Linda Griffiths’s Age of Arousal, Althol Fugard’s Coming Home and My Children! My Africa!, Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife, the World Premiere of Raw Boys by Dael Orlandersmith, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Barrymore Winner, Best Overall Production and Best Director), the World Premiere of Embarrassments by Laurence Klavan and Polly Pen, and the Philadelphia Premieres of Lillian Groag's The Magic Fire and Chay Yew's Red. In 2002 she directed the World Premiere of Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman at Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf Theatre, ACT in Seattle, and at The Wilma Theater. She was awarded the first Barrymore Award for Best Direction of a Play for Cartwright’s Road.

Special Events
A number of special, behind-the-scenes Onstage Conversations will accompany the production and provide audiences with the opportunity to engage with the artistic staff of the Wilma.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 10:00pm
Stay after the performance to discuss the play with a member of the Wilma's artistic staff.

Onstage Conversation
Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 10:00pm
Stay after the performance for an informal chat with the cast.

Young Friends Evening
Friday, October 15, 2010 – 7:00pm
Complimentary pre-show reception for audience members age 35 and under.

Onstage Conversation
Sunday, October 17, 2010 - 4:30pm
Join Dramaturg Walter Bilderback and three distinguished guests for a wide-ranging conversation on the Wilma's production of Macbeth and the attractiveness of evil. Taking part will be Shakespeare Scholar Alice Dailey, Assistant Professor of English at Villanova University and author of "Finding Romance under Constraint: Three Late Plays," in Borrowers and Lenders: A Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 4.2 (Summer 2009). Rabbi Arthur Waskow from Philadelphia's Shalom Center, and evolutionary pyschologist Laurie Santos, Associate Professor of Psychology at Yale, will also be participating in the discussion.

Tria Pre-Show Wine Tasting
Friday, October 29, 2010 - 7:00pm
Join us for a complimentary, pre-show wine tasting in our lobby from 7 - 8 PM sponsored by Tria.

Tickets
Tickets range from $40 to $69, and are available at the Wilma’s Box Office by calling (215) 546-7824, visiting wilmatheater.org, or coming to the theater, located at 265 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.

Macbeth has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. Daniel Berger is the Honorary Producer of Macbeth. PECO is the Macbeth Building the Audiences of Tomorrow Production Sponsor.

The Doubletree Hotel, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and The Sporting Club at the Bellevue are the Season Sponsors for The Wilma Theater’s 2010 – 2011 Season.

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