Arts & Culture

Augsburg Theater Triumphs with ‘Macbeth’

Percy Bartelt, staff writer 

Photo of Dylan Taylor-Brunell and Minna O’Connell as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, taken on Nov. 11 by Nathan Olson

Thunder. Lightning. Enter: Macbeth! Augsburg theater opened their doors to audiences on Friday, Nov. 4 for their performance of one of Shakespeare’s most notable pieces: Macbeth. 

I was already a fan of this Shakespeare piece after reading it in high school, but seeing it being performed was a whole different experience. Even just walking into the theater, the seating all surrounding the center stage, and the ambience that was created by the crew — both the red lighting and stage builds, along with the stormy, ominous and low sounds from the awesome sound designer: Abi Hilden. Next, when the actors first arrived on stage and started their performance, I was in awe at their skill and the beautiful emotion that was delivered with every line. Dylan Taylor-Brunell, who played Macbeth, was truly incredible. The audience could vividly see Macbeth’s descent into madness through the actor and feel how everyone else was feeling. Minna O’Connell, who played Lady Macbeth, was positively amazing! You could not only sense Lady Macbeth’s desperation to help her husband but also her anger at his actions throughout the play, as well as her own descent into madness. I literally got chills whenever she screamed at him. The whole cast was truly a wonder to see perform. 

What’s interesting to note: Not all the cast are theater majors! Productions are open to all that have an interest and/or skill with acting, and they welcome others with open arms. Bryce Riesner, who played a few different roles and is a non-theater major, encouraged, “I would recommend anyone who has an interest in theater audition even if they don’t major, because there’s nothing like performing in front of an audience.” Riesner went on to say how lovely the theater department is to work with! Furthermore, Riesner was asked about how this seemed to differ from other plays the department has put on and if Shakepsearian works were more difficult, to which he stated, “Doing Shakespeare is similar to any other play, except you have to read your lines a lot to understand what you’re saying. And once you get Shakespeare inside of you, it starts coming out in every conversation!” 

As for work behind the scenes, Abi Hilden explained how working behind the scenes was equally as rewarding as it would be in front of an audience, especially considering this was their first time doing such a job in the theater department. She explained, “Everyone was really encouraging and always made sure I had what I needed to succeed.” As for Hilden’s experience with working on a Shakespeare piece, she explained that while they didn’t have to act, they still wanted their sound to be both period and tonally accurate for the genre. “This made my job a little more challenging … but I think it was a great creative choice that paid off for the show in the end.”

The Augsburg theater department’s work and dedication to this piece was ever present in their performance. With the emotion in delivery, careful work with Shakespearian pieces and work behind the scenes, Macbeth was incredible! Follow the department’s Instagram at @augsburgtheater to learn about future productions.