Weïrd introduced a combination of Shakespearean theatre with acrobatics to create a unique blend of physical and vocal storytelling.
Consisting of self-written text in iambic pentameter and lines straight out of Macbeth, Theatre Arcturus achieved great success in creating a Shakespearesque feeling for the play. One component I found particularly interesting was the change of genre; Macbeth is traditionally structured as a tragedy, yet the interpretation of Weïrd was performed in the stages of comedy: good atmosphere, mishap/creation of problem, climax with low point, restoration of right in the world and return to good atmosphere. It was also a pleasant treat to see Macbeth from an alternate point of view. In comparison to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (another notable Shakespearean POV rendition), Weïrd pulled off a good storyline while keeping the play’s integrity.
One thing I found odd, yet slightly charming, was the stage setup. The set consisted of a large, rectangle-based triangular prism with two long, red, cloth ropes hanging from the middle. The audience was situated in a circle surrounding the stage, with one platform more elevated than the others. This theatre-in-the-round style seating, in my opinion, served as an excellent addition to this unique genre of theatre, because it provided a different experience for the audience, depending on what angle or height they were viewing from. Hosting this performance at the 918 Bathurst location proved to be an effective choice, due to the venue's triangular elevated ceiling. As Theatre Arcturus is a travelling troop and will perform Weïrd in different locations, I felt that this touch of coordination really made the audience feel that this show, and its design, was tailored specifically to them.
The defining feature of Weïrd however, had to be the phenomenal acting of the Three Weird Sisters/Witches, played by Lindsay Bellaire, Lindsay Sippel Eitzen and Emily Hughes. All three actresses accentuated their distinctive features and characters, both in the portrayal of their roles and in the way they moved about the rope; each actress bent and shifted to a particular beat with personal elegance. I particularly enjoyed Lindsay Sippel Eitzen’s character portrayal of Witch 2. The actress showed the difficulties of being a newcomer on an established team, who eventually had to take on the leadership role. Overall, I must say that all three actresses impressed me with their agility and flexible acrobatics.
This show however, suffered one small flaw in its inattention to a fundamental detail: 918 Bathurst has windows in its performance space, causing an entrance of natural light. I felt that this took away from the special effects planned. One particular example of this was during a stage blackout where there were thunder noises and flashes of bright white light to signify lightning. If the additional effort was made to black out/board up the windows, it would have created that much more of a fascinating experience.
Weïrd plays next at the Ottawa Fringe Festival from June 19-28, so visit them at www.theatrearcturus.ca for more information!