“What’s done is done.” But it’s not done, yet. Long before the audience – even the actors - arrive for Heartwood’s production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” there is toil and trouble bubbling behind the scenes.

“I first read ‘Macbeth’ in high school, and I fell straight in love,” says Director, Griff Braley. I’ve taught it many times to high school students, and I’ve always wanted to direct it. The timing is right, for Heartwood. This is going to be a blast!”

But it’s not what you’re thinking…

Set in the 21st century, with much less exposition and much more technology, it feels like a movie thriller. “Think Jason Bourne,” says Braley, grinning. “There are many ways to interpret this classic which stands the test of time, and I think The Bard, himself, would be pleased with our exploration of his masterpiece.”

Enter the tech crew, whose role is to imagine, budget, create and integrate the technical elements which support the production concept.

Tech Director, Letitia Munson, painstakingly fashions step one: a 1-inch scale model of the Poe Theater. Using this model, Braley and Munson design the set, light plot, projections sequence and blocking. "The model is incredibly helpful as we explain our design concept to the cast and crew and plan the set construction," says Munson.

Building the 16’ set is primarily Munson’s job, which includes shopping locally whenever possible, staying on-budget, and scheduling the process to completion before the cast arrives. Stepping in to construct a large staircase is local carpenter, Nick Buck.

Multi-projections play upon the set, as Chris Martin runs 5 projectors, simultaneously, from a tech booth computer (with the help of Isadora). “Isadora is a unique multimedia program used to create interactive visual projections and manipulate digital video in real time,” explains Martin, who first mastered Isadora on a large MAC computer purchased with a Heartwood grant from the Maine Arts Commission, in 2011.

Videographer Cole Christine shoots and edits the most sophisticated of the green screen film clips and images projected on the set and, sometimes, into thin air. “At times, live video footage appears simultaneously with onstage action, and these moments play a key role in conveying the narrative," says Christine.

Light and shadows - essential elements, as we weave in and out of Macbeth’s imagination. On the ladder to the light bars is John Braley, who says, “I really enjoy the challenge of hanging and perfecting a complicated light plot and then seeing the final product on opening night.”

Finishing set touches emerge at the hands of painters Mary Boothby and Alex Braley, who deliver their strokes of artistry in the atmosphere they prefer: solitude.

Costuming “Macbeth” with contemporary pieces is something a bit new for costumer, Sue Ghoreyeb. “My task is to stay true to the director’s production concept. We’ve replaced tights with cargo pants, fencing equipment with tactical gear, and swords with guns. This is much more fun than traditional Shakespeare!”

“Integrating original, multi-media concepts requires a unique rehearsal process,” notes Braley. “For projection, light, sound, staging, f/x and live actors to develop simultaneously, we must find the delicate balance between humans and spectacle. It's a delicious challenge for any group of theater artists.”

And yes - there will be smoke.

Sponsored by Cheney Insurance Agency and Newcastle Square Realty, “Macbeth” runs evenings: April 26, 27 and May 3, 4, 9-11 at 7:30 pm with one matinee, Sunday, May 5 at 3 pm in the Poe Theater, Newcastle. Tickets are $10/students, $20/adults (advance), $22 (at the door). Reservations: 563-1373 or boxoffice@heartwoodtheater.org. For details/directions visit www.heartwoodtheater.org. Heartwood is proudly sponsored by Bath Savings Institution.

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