PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Macbeth — A Space to Kill

By Harry Haun
22 Nov 2013

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At the party, Orsini was still reeling with excitement over his Shakespearean debut. "This has been — and will absolutely continue to be — the biggest growing experience I've had thus far, and I'm really grateful to have had the chance to do it."

Another O'Brien innovation is casting men as the three witches and having them hover cryptically throughout the show, especially over scenes of wrongdoing and comeuppance. They're played by Byron Jennings, John Glover and Malcolm Gets.

Jennings, who spoke the first line in Patrick Stewart's Macbeth gets the first substantial speech in this (reshuffled) production. "Basically, this is a directorial concept. Jack wanted the witches to be able to take part in other scenes by becoming other characters in the play so they have a lot of control over information."

"I'm having a ball," trilled Glover. "Jack has always been a wonderful director. I've worked with him quite a few times — the first time was back in the '60s in The Selling of the President — so I've known him a while, and he's really at the top of his game."

Gets noted a new addition to the witchcraft — Hecate, a sort of queen of the witches. "She's edited from most productions. In ours, she's played by a fantastic actress, Francesca Faridany. She's more powerful than we are so she gets some of our lines."

Lording over the haggard threesome, looking like Lady Gaga, Faridany is a commanding presence. "The people who move this particular version of this play forward are the witches," she remarked. "In Shakespeare's play, she's just got one speech. The witches seem to be enough usually, and they do the work without her, but Jack has taken that hundreds of steps farther. What's wonderful is that she comes down and sorta demotes the witches and says, 'What the hell have you been doing? You've messed up. We've got to get organized.' Then, she takes over."

By any other name, Hecate might be Ninotchka.