The Oddlife Theatre Company of Chicago obviously has no truck with superstitions. Not only is the brand new company starting up its season on the 13th of the month, the group's first show is Macbeth, a drama legendary for its legacy of bad luck.
Macbeth, the story of a Scottish nobleman who murders his way to the throne with the help of a little supernatural advice, is the focus of intense superstition in the theatrical world. The play is believed to be cursed, and productions -- especially big star productions -- are, coincidentally or not, attended by an unusual number of mishaps.
The last Broadway revival -- starring Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson -- went through three directors, a number of designers and support personnel, and had legendary problems with sets and tempers. Actors will not even speak the name of the play aloud, especially when inside a theatre, preferring to refer to it as "the Scottish play."
One guard Oddlife has against disaster is its company of actors, many of whom have long lists of Chicago credits. Appearing in Macbeth, which opens July 13, are Shakespeare Rep veteran David Solovieff (as the title character), Kirsten Fitzgerald (Lady Macbeth) and Phil Gigante (Macduff), alongside Orion Barnes, Ned Mochel (who also provides the show's fight choreography, Jeff Alquire, Don Bender, Carl Campagna, Jimmy Jake Freund, Timothy Goldich, Jonathan Watkins, Lynnette Gaza, Kimberly Salditt and Jodi Wonio. Designing the show are Duane Pagano (lighting) and Solovieff & Kurt Ehrmann (set).
Oddlife, a not-for-profit company, was founded by Ehrmann (who serves as artistic director) and Goodman Theatre operations manager, Erica Baisch. For tickets ($15) and information on Macbeth, which began previews July 11 and runs to Aug. 23, call (773) 883-1090. Performances take place at the Bailiwick Arts Center 1229 West Belmont.
-- By David Lefkowitz