MACBETH: An Immersive Theatre Experience

Adrum, Adrum! Macbeth Doth Come | Fall 2020 Mainstage Production

The Clark University Players Society is beyond excited to introduce our fall 2020 mainstage production: William Shakespeare's Macbeth, directed by Kim H. Carrell. This production will adhere to both the safety guidelines and parameters put forth by Clark’s Visual & Performing Arts Dept. for any campus programming, as well as the Clark Commitment’s expectations of health and wellbeing for all students and community members at Clark and in Main South.

Inspired by the success of New York’s premiere theatrical experience Sleep No More, and encouraged by the burst of mobile theatre productions in the era of COVID-19, CUPS’ production of Macbeth is an immersive walkthrough exhibition through the Hadwen Arboretum, Clark’s one-of-a-kind campus-facilitated forest conservation. Our three-night production will feature a collection of 10 scenes from the harrowing Shakespearan tragedy, taking guests through the foggy Burnam wood of Dunsinane, as a Scottish noblemen and his conniving wife plot a blood-soaked quest for power.

While we are ecstatic to have the opportunity to facilitate student performing arts on and near campus, CUPS recognizes there is a breadth of anxiety and doubt regarding Clark’s decision to remain open and facilitate a college campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage students, families, and faculty to read through our rehearsal, performance, and audience guidelines below and reach out to us with any further concerns, comments, and questions that were not addressed here.

AUDITIONS & REHEARSALS

Auditions for Macbeth will be held on Thursday, September 10th from 6:00-10:00 pm on both evenings. Auditions will be held in the Little Center Michelson Theater in 10-minute slots. In cooperation with the Clark Commitment, it is our expectation that auditioning students will wear face coverings at all times during their audition process. Signups for both nights of auditions will be available via SignUpGenius when dates are announced; for now, we encourage you to fill out an online audition form, and we will guarantee you an audition slot! Audition materials will also be made available later this week via the CUPS website. All audition forms and materials will be kept digital; we cannot provide any printed materials for students for safety purposes.

Callbacks will be facilitated by the CUPS Executive Board and director Kim Carrell if they are found to be necessary. Callbacks will take place at the Hadwen Arboretum and will be done so with social distancing in mind. We expect a cast list to be assembled shortly after callbacks are concluded..

Subsequent rehearsals will take place every week leading up to the show, with all rehearsals taking place on-site at the Arboretum. We believe that the Arboretum’s convenient proximity to Clark - at just 14 minutes away walking, at most - and its simultaneous isolation from the primary campus ensures heightened safety amongst our actors and production team. In cooperation with the Clark Visual & Performing Arts Dept.’s safety guidelines, all actors and production team members will be masked during rehearsals, and maintain social distancing in the blocking of scenes. Costumes will be designed with masks and gloves, and all actors will be responsible for individually upholding their pledge to the Clark Commitment in order to ensure the safety of the rest of their cast.

In the event of a positive test amongst the cast, the directing team has expressed a desire to cast understudies in addition to the principal cast list. To increase safety, any rehearsal prior to tech week will take place with no more than 10 persons on-site at the Arboretum, including any members of the directing or production team. These numbers are subject to change as necessary during tech week, and performances are obviously exempt.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Our production of Macbeth is an incredibly ambitious project. This is an all-hands-on-deck type of production, and CUPS believes there is a spot for anyone and everyone who is interested in fulfilling a technical role in some capacity. That being said, it is imperative that our production team is assembled as soon as possible; we ask that all students interested in production fill out the application no later than Thursday, September 3rd, at 11:59 pm.

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Tech hours will be held either on-site at the Hadwen or during limited shop hours in the Little Center. To limit the number of students at the Arboretum at one time, most tech hours will take place during the week. Additionally, there are numerous positions and tasks on the production team that can be done virtually, or from the comfort and safety of a student’s dorm or private residence. When filling out an application, we encourage students to be transparent and honest about their comfort level in being involved.

To accommodate an outdoor venue, CUPS will be investing heavily in equipment and technology that are flexible and mobile in the interest of storage and sustainability. These elements include LED lighting, Bluetooth sound systems, and battery-operated lights and mics. We understand this is not the traditional equipment student designers are used to during a production with CUPS, but we are confident in our community's resilience and flexibility in adapting to these modules.

PERFORMANCES & AUDIENCES 

Macbeth will open to student audiences for three nights: Friday, October 23rd, Saturday, October 24th, and Sunday, October 25th. A matinee performance will also take place on Sunday during the day.

 

Each evening, the Hadwen will be open to audiences for a total of three hours, between 7:00-10:00 pm, with four different 45-minute walkthrough tours for groups of no more than 15 Clark students. Students will be able to secure a spot amongst one of these four tours via online registration as we approach opening night.

 

All audience members are required to wear production-issued masks throughout their experience. Ushers will arrive at the corner of Maywood and Florence Streets to guide audience groups from the primary Clark campus to the Hadwen. After departing from campus, all talking is prohibited, as is cell phone use.

In cooperation with the Clark Commitment's strict embargo on any guests visiting Clark's campus and subsequent property, CUPS regretfully must limit any and all audience members to current Clark University students, staff, and faculty. We apologize profusely to any community members, alumni, and families that are hurt by this unfortunate but necessary precaution. Please note that there are plans for increasing accessibility to the production virtually - please read on to learn more about these proposals.

ACCESSIBILITY

While our current vision of a walking tour production of Macbeth is an exciting and safe alternative to traditional performance, we understand this model imposes physical limitations on prospective audience members and are exploring opportunities to strengthen the accessibility of participating in such an exciting event.

 

This summer, the Executive Board charted numerous pathways through both the Hadwen Arboretum itself, as well as the public streets between the conservation and Clark's primary campus, in an attempt to chart the least challenging pathways. We have identified that traveling through Maywood St, Park Ave, and Lovell St will ensure the smoothest passage for audience groups during performances. We are continuing to map out our production's presence in the Hadwen, and this is an evolving process that we expect to finish alongside blocking in mid to late September.

Socially-distanced chairs and rest stops will be provided at certain scenes during the walking tour to allow for students to take a break from their on-foot journey as needed. CUPS is also exploring the possibility and safety of renting temporary restrooms stationed at the entrance and exit of the Hadwen for audiences' convenience.

Finally, in an effort to remedy the forced exclusion of non-Clark community audience members, CUPS has been in talks with members of the Screen Studies Dept. to create a prerecorded walking tour of Macbeth, which would be made available for streaming via the CUPS website following the production's closing and campus closure. We are hopeful this virtual production could move beyond the virtual Clark community, accessible not just to family and alumni, but also submittable to virtual conferences and cultural institutes, including the 2021 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

ENDORSEMENTS & SUPPORT

At CUPS, we understand that theatrical productions are always a team effort, from the director, right down to the ushers. Now more than ever, our circumstances in facilitating student performance opportunities require the support, feedback, and occasional criticism from a plethora of fellow campus departments and institutions. We are proud to have the consent and encouragement of the following persons and their respective affiliations in pursuing our plans for our production of Macbeth:

YOU'VE HEARD FROM US...

Now, we want to hear from you.

When Provost Baird first lent his support to CUPS in our in-person performing arts endeavors, he reminded us of the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and encouraged us to be ready for anything and everything during our production process. Consequently, we understand these plans do not, and cannot, address the full scope of creating live theatre amidst a pandemic. We encourage students, families, and faculty to reach out to us with any further concerns, comments, and questions that were not addressed here.

We would also like to extend an invitation to a virtual Q&A forum with the CUPS Executive Board on Thursday, August 27th, at 7:00 pm. This forum will take place over Zoom and will be accessible for any Clark students, families, and community members that want to learn more about CUPS' upcoming 2020-21 season.

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