Double, Double, the Actors are Coupled

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On October 27, the play’s the thing, as Granite Bay High School introduces its modern rendition of Macbeth.

While Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are traditionally characterized as ambitious and crude, the Shakespearean characters now have a new reason to be considered “two-faced.”

The role of Macbeth will be played by two actors: junior Bronson Vanderjack and senior Sophie Brubaker. They will alternate as the lead from show to show.

Although both actors recite the same lines, Vanderjack and Brubaker have customized portrayals of Macbeth.

“Sophie plays Macbeth as driven by all these circumstances that come along,” Vanderjack said. “My Macbeth (is) intimidated a lot … his wife really, really pushes him.”

Brubaker said the gender switch will challenge the audience to think about how men and women in similar roles are viewed in society.

“I’m interested to see … if (the audience) will see my character as … masculine,” Brubaker said. “In this day and age, I think women are seen as being able to be just as ambitious.”

In addition to thinking about how Macbeth shifts as a character, the drama department invites the audience to reflect upon their own preconceptions of the interactions between males and females.

“Just be … introspective with yourself,” Brubaker said. “See if your emotions did change, if you rooted for some characters more than others or if you viewed some characters as more evil or more ambitious … because of the shift that we’re portraying.”

Macbeth’s spouse will also be played by two actors. When Vanderjack stars as Macbeth, he will be accompanied by Emily Schofield, who plays the part of Lady Macbeth. When Brubaker stars as Macbeth, she will be accompanied by Evan McGuire, who plays the part of Lord Macbeth.

Brubaker said the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth will be one of the most apparent differences in the gender swap.

“(Lady Macbeth’s) very verbally abusive,” Brubaker said. “(The audience) may see that as more intense with a male … They might hate Lady Macbeth more on nights that she is a male.”

Another twist in GBHS’s production of Macbeth is the comparison to modern politics.

Vanderjack said the gender switch was partly inspired by the 2016 presidential election.

Although the characters aren’t representative of any particular party or candidate, they have ambitious political endeavors. After Macbeth becomes the king of Scotland, he struggles to retain his power and is eventually killed by one of his competitors.

“I’m certain the election won’t go as bad as it does in the play,” Vanderjack said, “but it’s interesting to draw similarities between the actions of Macbeth and then the actions of our political candidates.”

During several scenes, the set will be transformed into a debate stage.

Senior Sophia Reinero, who will be playing Banquo, one of Macbeth’s closest friends, said there is an intimacy lost between Macbeth and Banquo in the modernization of the play.

In the traditional version of the play, Macbeth and Banquo are old war buddies. In the GBHS production, they are politicians.

“There relationship is obviously much more on a political and campaigning level,” Reinero said. “They both campaign together for the same party.”

Reinero said the best way to get the most out of this play is to purchase two tickets – one for each gender swap.  

“I personally would like for this show to send the message that really we should not judge,” Reinero said. “All are equal on the side of ambition. You cannot deny that both genders can … express the same desires in the form of aggressiveness in trying to get what they want.”

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