Excitement was in the air as Mansfield prepared for the first production of the College’s Drama Society. Word of a site-specific Macbeth raised anticipation in all common rooms, and the buzz was justified. The audience witnessed the rise and fall of Macbeth as they walked from the quad through the corridors to Hall and to the Tower Room. From fear to pity to illusion of success to the inevitable tragic end, the audience was moved from one scene to another, while being moved deeply by the different emotional threads of the narrative that unravelled throughout the evening.
The production is commendable for several reasons. First, its diverse cast (humanities and science students, matriculated and visiting students) should be commended for impressive acting capabilities. Macbeth (Bethany White) and Lady Macbeth (Amy Dutton) lead the production with confidence and flair, and there is much versatility and talent in the cast. The three witches (Sheila Coursey, Charlotte Gibbs and Jo Williams) deserve a special mentioning for genuinely alarming an unprepared audience at the start of the play.
Second, the directors (Maisie Jenkinson, Dionne Farrell and Ina Sorensen) should be commended for immense creativity and thoughtfulness. Mansfield has beautiful settings, albeit small; however for the duration of the play the audience felt it was in the great Scottish landscape. Site-specific productions are always challenging; but it seems to me this one was especially successful in transposing the audience from its feeling of being “at home” to the haunted settings of the play. The Hall, quad and Chapel- all became our “elsewhere” and Mansfield was no longer our Mansfield.
Third, there was something really different about Mansfield’s Macbeth. All members of cast and technical team took part in all roles, and the audience and cast became for a brief time a transient community moved by the well-known tale of the Thane of Cawdor in a real feeling of togetherness. The effect achieved by walking through the different settings is that of feeling the narrative together; a truly unique experience. Mansfield Drama Society’s Macbeth was different and exciting.
Words: Dana Mills