“I am in blood, stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, it were as tedious as go o’er.”
Shakespeare’s Macbeth, directed by Carmen Khan, is a meditation on consequences in the aftermath of murder, ambition, tyranny, and revenge. The entire world of Macbeth is stained with blood. The atmosphere is thick with it. Everyone is enveloped in it. It cannot be washed off. Enter the nightmare of having murdered another person and the impossibility of ever returning to any kind of peace of mind afterwards.
Directed by Carmen Khan
(*Preview performances: Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2.)
Due to violent nature and dark themes, this play is recommended for ages 14+. Estimated runtime: 2 hours and 20 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.
SOMETHING’S BREWING: Three “weird sisters” are conjuring up a spell and make a plan to meet with Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis. (“Weird,” in Shakespeare’s day, meant “fateful”). Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches. They prophesy that Macbeth will be king and Thane of Cawdor and that Banquo’s children shall be kings.
THE PROPHESY: Duncan, the king of Scotland, receives reports that Macbeth and Banquo have been victorious in battle against Norway and the Scottish rebels. He also learns that the Thane of Cawdor, whom Duncan trusted to the utmost, was a traitor. Duncan orders Cawdor’s execution and sends his cousin Rosse to inform Macbeth he is now Thane of Cawdor, as well as Glamis.
HEIR TO THE THRONE: Macbeth meets Duncan who thanks him. Duncan then names his son Malcolm as his heir to the throne. Macbeth in an aside reveals that he has already had murderous thoughts before even meeting the witches. Duncan announces that he will visit Macbeth’s castle at Inverness that night.
MAKING OF A MURDER: Lady Macbeth, at Inverness, reads a letter from Macbeth, telling her about the witches’ prophecy. She wants Macbeth to kill Duncan when he visits, but she fears he will not have the courage. As soon as Macbeth arrives, she pressures him forcefully to kill Duncan. Macbeth goes back and forth about whether he will kill Duncan, because he is afraid of being caught. Lady Macbeth comes up with a plan to drug Duncan’s guards so that Macbeth will have easy access for the murder, and then will be able to blame the guards. Macbeth is thrilled by the idea and agrees to the murder.
BLOODY DAGGER: In the middle of the night, on his way to murder Duncan, Macbeth sees a vision of a dagger hovering in the air in front of him. He believes it is going in the direction he was going to kill Duncan. He goes into Duncan’s room, then emerges and reports to Lady Macbeth that he’s done it. But he still has the bloody daggers in his hands. Lady Macbeth takes the daggers, goes into Duncan’s room, puts the daggers on the drugged guards and smears them with blood. In the morning, Macduff discovers the murdered king. Macbeth pretends to be shocked and goes to see for himself. While there, he murders the guards before they wake so they cannot reveal anything.
ON THE RUN: Malcolm and Donalbain see quickly they are in a dangerous situation and fear they will be blamed for their father’s death. Malcolm flees to England and Donalbain to Ireland.
NEWLY CROWNED: Macbeth becomes king, but he is not satisfied that he is completely safe and begins to worry about Banquo’s children becoming kings as the witches had predicted. He orders the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance. Banquo is murdered but Fleance escapes.
HAUNTED: At a banquet Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo, but none of the other guests do. As Macbeth attempts to fight the invisible ghost, the banquet dissolves into chaos and Lady Macbeth dismisses all the guests. Macbeth decides to go and visit the witches. He implies to Lady Macbeth there will be more violence. When Macbeth visits the witches he asks for more information about the future. They answer by conjuring apparitions for him to see. They assure him that no man born of a woman can harm him. They also say that he is safe from attack unless a time comes when he can see the forest of Birnam move towards his castle. Macbeth feels assured by all of this.
THE BLOODBATH: Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to England to join Malcolm’s army, and views this as treason. He orders the slaughter of Macduffs’ entire family. Macduff goes to England to persuade Malcolm to return to Scotland and lead an army against Macbeth. Malcolm, fearing that Macduff is secretly working on Macbeth’s behalf, tests Macduff’s loyalty. Macduff passes the “test”. Macduff then hears the news of his family’s slaughter. He swears to kill Macbeth.
FACING FATE: Lady Macbeth goes mad because of the guilt of the murder, and kills herself. Macbeth is alone and must face his fate. Macduff and Macbeth fight, and Macduff kills Macbeth. Malcolm becomes the new king of Scotland.
*Photo credit: Kendall Whitehouse
New to 2016, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre now offers new seating selections! Choose your preferred seat while ordering your tickets from our seating chart. Tickets to our Mainstage productions range from $20-$45, depending on the selected seating section. Senior and student discounts available. Due to violent nature and dark themes, this play is recommended for ages 14+
You can purchase tickets online by clicking here, or by calling our box office: 215-496-8001.
In the weeks before the show, our staff is here to take your box office calls from 9am – 5pm, Monday-Friday.
Please note: There is no late seating policy. Give yourself plenty of time to park and walk to our theatre. Late seating will be at the discretion of our House Manager.
Accessibility: Our theatre is unfortunately NOT handicap accessible at this time. We are working on making our theatre accessible to everyone, and we will do our best to accommodate any special requests.
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Metered street parking is available on several blocks in all directions surrounding The Theatre.
Indoor Garages & Outdoor Lots
There are many parking garages and outdoor lots within a few blocks of The Theatre. There are two garages within the block. One is located across the street. Another is located next door, called Park America. Park America accepts our $10.00 validation stamp. Additional parking facilities are located at 125 South 20th, 2036 Chestnut, and 2101 Chestnut. The average cost for parking at a garage or lot during an evening performance ranges between $9.00 – $12.00.