By Eugène Ionesco

Premiere Translation by Gavin Witt

Directed by Joanna Settle

A co-production with greasy joan & company

Chopin Theatre, Chicago

November 2000 ­– January 2001



About the Text: 

Ionesco’s 1972 homage to Shakespeare (his favorite playwright) is a wild sprawling text in which: Duncan is a lunatic; Lady Duncan, Lady Macbett, and a witch are the same person; Banco and Macbett are twins; and Malcolm is a bloodthirsty tyrant who sings of Macbett’s doom “Wagnerian style.”


About the Production:

Ionesco’s three-act Macbett was performed at Chicago’s Chopin Theatre – an aging 170-seat venue with a notably deep playing space – as a co-production with greasy joan & company. The play had a running time of roughly three hours. Director Joanna Settle’s interprestation of the script drew from traditions of absurdism, vaudeville, and circus performance.  D13’s Katie Taber was featured as Lady Duncan, Lady Macbett, and a witch.

The project began with a script development period culminating in a public reading.  Ten weeks of rehearsal with the cast of 16 followed, including 15 days of technical rehearsals — essential for the woven nature of the sound, lights, and multimedia elements. As a result of this extended schedule, it was possible to add Ionesco himself as a character, portrayed by a chorus of four.  This ensemble within the ensemble debated his musings on the theatre, and made it possible to bring Ionesco’s comic stage directions to light.

Andrew Lieberman’s set was designed to invoke both war and comedy – 45′ wide and 70′ deep, with 3′ wide trenches running left to right, and constructed at a height of 3’6”.  Characters entered and exited the stage by climbing, groping, or jumping, seeming to will the story onto the stage.  The environment was aptly dubbed by one journalist as an “absurdist shooting range.”

Macbett received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Excellence in Sound Design, honoring the work of sound designer Mike Frank and composer Andre Pluess.


Program Information:

Set Design: Andrew Lieberman

Costume Design: Stacy Ellen Rich

Lighting Design: Gwen Grossman

Sound Design: Mike Frank and Andre Pleuss

Production Manager: Alex Blunt

Technical Director: Nathan Combs

Assistant Director: Rebekah Scallet

Production Stage Manager: Heather Lee Chappell

Dramaturg: Lila M. Stromer

Vocal Coach: Holly Orfanedes-Roth

Stage Manager: Paige Keedy


Production Staff: 

Marketing: Kathy Van Zwoll

Fight Choreographer: Brian LeTraunik

Assistant Set Designer/Props Master: Ann Bartek

Assistant Lighting Designer: Charles Cooper

Assistant Stage Manager: Carlos Diaz

Film: Dave Smith

Video/Film Assistant: Kristin Lohr

Lighting Production Manager/Master Electrician: Ruth Hudson

Assistant Production Manager/Light Board Operator: Ryan Durling

Sound Board Operator: Mark Comiskey

Dramaturgical Assistance: Tom Duncan, Megan Powell, Tanera Marshall

Graphic Designer: Marianna Levant

Press Contact: Karin McKie 


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