If you're interested in catching a production of Shakespeare's Macbeth in New York City at present, you have two choices. You can either head down to the New York International Fringe Festival and see it performed by dozens of tiny action figures in Tiny Ninja Theatre Presents Macbeth, or you can take in the Queen's Company rendition of The Scottish Play, in which that was no lady, that was the Thane of Glamis.
But, if you're interested in the latter, you better hurry. For the Off-Off Broadway's Queen's Company's new all-female mounting of Shakespeare's tragedy will run at the Mint Theatre space through Aug. 20 only. Performance began on July 29.
All-female Shakespeare productions happen with sufficient frequency in New York City that they ought to be considered a separate theatrical genre. The most recent outing was the Women's Shakespeare Company's rendition of Measure for Measure this past March at Altered Stages. Prior to that, in December 1999, the same company presented a distaff Othello. The Women's Shakespeare Company brings no political agenda -- they say they merely cast women in men's roles just as men were cast in women's roles back in the Bard's day.
And before Othello? Well, last August the Pulse Ensemble Theatre presented, er, Macbeth. That's right -- the Queen's Company is only the second New York troupe in twelve months in which the Thane of Glamis' pals call him "Beth," rather than "Mac." The Queen's Company has gone Pulse one better in a certain respect. Pulse has actresses play both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The rest of the roles, however, were evenly distributed between men and women. In The Queen's Company's Scotland, however, every kilt is a skirt.
Rebecca Patterson will direct the new production, which features Virginia Baeta, Sheila Lynn Buckley, Aysan çelik, Heather Grayson, Jacqueline Gregg, Stacie Hirsch, Lisette Merenciana, Jina Oh, Karen Pruis, Ami Shukla, Katlan Walker, DeeAnn Weir and Tessa Zugmeyer. Patterson has made some changes to the script, borrowing lines from Richard II, Coriolanus, and King Lear.
Tickets are $15, regardless of sex. The Mint Space is loacted at 311 W. 43Rd Street. For more information, call (212) 206-1515.
--By Robert Simonson