MACBETH by William Shakespeare, directed by Soheil Parsa, with Peter Farbridge, Stavroula Logothettis, Alon Nashman and Parsa. Presented by Modern Times at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Runs to March 27, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $15-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
I sure hope Soheil Parsa and his Modern Times Theatre get a bulk discount on fabrics.
In their production of Macbeth , the witches wear black stretchy nylon over their faces, Duncan sports a shiny sheet of gold cloth over his head and - in the play's closing moments - Fabricland comes to Dunsinane when the title character gets festooned with colourful scarves instead of a suit of armour.
Parsa's 1995 production - which combines elements of Persian, Asian and European theatre traditions - has been justly praised for its inventiveness. Andjelija Djuric 's costumes, Droege Designs ' evocative lighting - nice use of flashlights - and some simple but effective staging make this Macbeth mostly memorable.
As well, the move from the Buddies Mainstage to the newly renovated Theatre Centre has heightened the work's intimacy.
But while you admire bits and pieces of Parsa's Macbeth, and occasionally see individual scenes in a new way, it fails to engage you wholly.
Which is strange, because Parsa has trimmed the text significantly, presenting it without an intermission. You'd think we'd be carried along to its inevitable climax.
But it occasionally drags. The language takes a back seat to the stage picture, and perhaps because the actors are required to play three or four different roles, there's a lack of focus in the characterizations. At times it feels like one of those abridged versions of classics aimed at young adults.
Stavroula Logothettis creates an erotically charged, ambitious Lady M, while Peter Farbridge 's Macbeth is a complex mix of poet, politician and philosopher.
Curiously, Parsa has cast himself as the Porter, a witch and a sort of narrator figure - one of his few ideas that doesn't pay dramatic dividends.