Lakewood High has been a center to allow the arts to thrive and with that, started a new chapter of that legacy. The new Studio Theater held its first show in the past weekend. The director and the teacher that runs the Barnstormers drama club, Mr. Dominic Farinelli, cited the adjustment it took as the past two years most of the productions would be held makeshift in the art atrium. The Drama teacher also wishes to express his gratitude to the community and school administrators that gave the club and classes access to a place that was their own, as such a place just cannot be seen in many other high schools.
The first show of the season was the classic Macbeth. A small production, of course, all-student acted, brought a highly polished professional show that no one could expect of a high school production yet always comes of a Barnstormers production.
The first to speak is the lead Casey Chanter, as his rendition of the infamous Macbeth truly portrayed a man’s paranoia as he clawed into new power and his descent into madness. The senior brought his full artillery with a laugh one could only hear in a horror movie, expressive reactions, and blocking to show his one true desire was power along with his growing psychosis. He brought a performance so in character during a show that he even broke a wine glass, adding to the climax of the first act that sent a gasp through the audience.
Farah El-Ashram, who played his wife Lady Macbeth, matched the compelling act as she sank into grieving guilt from greedy anger that influenced Macbeth’s actions. Able to be a large presence on a chessboard filled with characters of lords and kings, she gave justice to such a driving manipulator that later turns regretful and driven to depression and compulsive cleansing of her hands in her last moments before being killed in an act of karma.
Those were just two of the whole cast that brought such compelling actions even when there was no dialogue. Audrey Warren, playing Banquo, held two different parts of one character—loyal living and devious dead. Before death, she brought the energy a young and knightly character should possess, so ready to serve and easily shaken by an incident such as hearing they would bore a line of kings and then the death of Duncan. Later she portrays the silent ghost that could so easily torture Macbeth with a smirk and aimed stare.
I could go on for over a thousand words complimenting each role.
The setting was simple and followed the idea of chess, red and white squares placed out 8x 8 like the game’s board. Even in certain scenes characters took places in the squares like pieces and were seen to move in certain patterns as if they themselves were pieces in a game. The motif also carried well as a central prop for the witches was a small chess board rather a cauldron.
The lights also brought a well-transitioned mood as Macbeth was followed by a red light and the witches always appeared in a green hue to add an eerie effect that skewed their appearance and added to the unease they brought throughout the audience.
Small details showed through from the broken glass, the touches of fake blood. The wardrobe and small props gave an ageless setting. An example being Macbeth and Macduff possessed revolvers but also brandished swords.
One could still smell the gunpowder from the slaughter of Macduff’s family as he declared vengeance. Those who reappeared after death were slightly bloodied and ashy as if sallow with decay. The touches of blood on the after fighting, giving a strong setting of the calm after the slaughter as the lords and servants of Dunsinane Castle kneel before Prince Malcolm (portrayed by Solana Petrone) as he now is king after Macbeth’s death.
The show spoke volumes of the talent contained in Lakewood High School, considering what went on on-stage and the work that went backstage with costume planning and set from the lights to the simple pieces that added that little something to the actors’ interpretations and performances.
Like Macbeth, these drama geeks are killing it.