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Soulstice Theatre to produce all-female “Macbeth”

Photo+courtesy+of+Soulstice+Theatre.+
Photo courtesy of Soulstice Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Soulstice Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Soulstice Theatre.

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A spin on the Shakespearean tale, “Macbeth,” comes to life this January at the Soulstice Theatre in Milwaukee. The production features an all-female cast that portrays each character of the play as female. The show is set just after World War I, allowing for a creative turn on this classic story.

Marketing director Matthew Northey described this innovative twist of “Macbeth” that was made a reality by technical director Catherine Jones.

“Soulstice Theatre continually strives to serve its mission by creating meaningful theatre that challenges, inspires and entertains,” Northey said. “This all-female production of “Macbeth” addresses that mission in numerous ways.”

Northey said the play fulfills that mission through the unique casting style. “Shakespeare’s characters are some of the most well-known and beloved in the world of theatre,” he said. “Milwaukee actresses are able to seize an otherwise inaccessible opportunity and the all-female cast enhances the context of this classic play, underscoring themes of gender and power within the text.”

Actress Amy Hansmann, who plays the role of Macbeth in the production, continues her experience with Shakespearean plays at Soulstice. She has played the roles of Viola in “Twelfth Night,” Marina in “Pericles,” and Mustardseed in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She believes audiences will be drawn to the all-female cast for nothing more than curiosity.

“I don’t really think about portraying my role as female or male,” she continued. “I approach it as portraying a person. Greed, ambition, lust, cruelty and betrayal are not unique to one gender.”

The acting possibilities offered to Hansmann were ones she gladly took full advantage of.

“I’ve been able to tap into darker corners of my psyche, which is always fun. I’ve had the opportunity to learn unarmed and rapier stage combat. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Hansmann said.

This confidence did not come immediately for Hansmann. She was nervous about working with all women, but quickly found the cast is “supportive, kind, hilarious, hard-working and considerate.” But the all-female cast is not the only piece of the show that will interest audience members.

“One exciting element for this production will be a designated splash zone in the audience,” Northey said. “The show features extensive fight choreography, including projectile blood effects that will splatter patrons in the first few rows. Not to worry though, as the stage blood is 100 percent washable.”

Along with Hansmann, Northey said he believes the messages this play sends to audience members will be more rewarding than anything else.

“While the play features exciting sword fighting and rich costumes, it also contains deeper significance,” he said. “If I have one hope for the show, it is that the audience comes with an open mind to consider the themes of gender and power and how they apply to life outside the theatre.”

The Soulstice Theatre will present “Macbeth” from Jan. 15-31 with performances every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices will be $20 for adults and $18 for students, seniors and military.

Soulstice will continue its 2015 season with the upcoming show in February, “Bare: A Pop Opera,” a musical following friends of a Catholic boarding school with their struggles of sexuality and acceptance.

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