PLAY REVIEW: ‘Old Macbeth’ combines Shakespeare and the Colonel?

By Darrin Clark • Last Updated 2:34 pm on Monday, November 14, 2011

Colonel Duncan (Brandon Reickoff) shares the ingredients of the secret recipe with MacBeth (Tyler Young), his new vice president and general manager of sales. It is so secret, everyone else must cover their ears.

Like the brew in a witch’s cauldron, the Montcalm Community College fall drama class production is a mixture of a little bit of this and a pinch of that.
“Old MacBeth Had a Farm” is a combination of Shakespeare’s character MacBeth, Colonel Sanders of  Kentucky Fried Chicken and many other interesting characters.
“Sometimes it is difficult to find productions that will work for the students,” said Carolyn Johnson, drama instructor and director. “We start the semester by doing some improvisation and get to know each other. Then we think over the parts in a play and maybe do some read-throughs. This one was one we liked last year and this group of kids also really liked it.”
The play opens with four witches (Jenny Lee Powers, Meagan Waite, Amanda Waite and Ashley Larsen) plotting and planning evil, all except Witch 4, Susan, played by Larsen.
“I like to do nice things. It wreaks havoc on people’s preconceived notions of witches,” she says as the other three admonish her.
The witches’ attire is typical black dresses and pointy hats, decorated in a variety of adornments. Because they are very hip witches, they also wear neon high top tennis shoes. Scenery is at a minimum, but the detail to costumes and props more than compensates.
A very quick scene change brings the audience to Colonel Duncan’s Chicken Shack, where the colonel, played expertly by Brandon Reickoff, is outraged by an employee who was giving away details about the secret recipe of herbs and spices.
In his outburst, the colonel names MacBeth as vice president and general manager of sales of Colonel Duncan’s Chicken Shack and heir to the business if his son, Malcolm (Brittany Denton), is not of age to run the business.
MacBeth now has a bright future at the Chicken Shack.
“But my thoughts are as dark as bats in an underground cave,” says MacBeth, a role portrayed confidently by Tyler Young.
“You haven’t got the guts to kill the colonel. In fact, you lack the entire digestive system to do it,” challenges his wife, Lady MacBeth, played strongly by Amanda Hall.
The entire production is filled with humorous puns, spoonerisms and word play.
In a matter of minutes, MacBeth carries out his plan by murdering the colonel, attaining the reins of the company, killing off colleagues and was reassured by the coven of witches that he cannot be defeated.
And yet will the witches’ prediction really come true?

If you go…
What: “Old MacBeth Had a Farm,” a one-hour production by Montcalm Community College’s drama class.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Where: The college’s Barn Theater in Sidney.
Admission: Free.
Cast: Witch No. 1, Jenny Lee Powers; Witch No. 2, Megan Waite; Witch No. 3, Amanda Waite; Witch No. 4, Ashley Larsen; Colonel Duncan/Messenger, Brandon Reickoff; Malcom, Brittany Denton; MacBeth, Tyler Young; Lady MacBeth, Amanda Hall; Banquo, Nate Dora; MacDuff, Mike Helmer; Lennos/Sword, Ross, Isabella Williams; Angus/Farmer Johnson/Seyton/Apparition 3, Colleen Stanley; Old Man/ Apparition 1, Christina Waldorf; Doctor/Apparition 2/Fleance, Brandy Foster; Farmhand/Weatherperson, Emily Ackerson
Crew: Carolyn Johnson, director/drama class instructor; Johnathon Heath, director’s assistant/light & sound technician.

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