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Michael Jenkinson (behind) as Malcolm, and Drew Swain as Bloody Sergeant, are shown in a scene from “Macbeth.” //Photo by Luis Escobar/Reflections Photography Studio

I know that I am not the perfect guy to review a play by Shakespeare. It was the one lesson in school that I dreaded more than algebra.

I could never get past the language. Just like the King James Version of the Bible, I just could not understand the words. Now the Bible is available in a New International Version (NIV) written in more modern English that I can follow.

But there isn’t an NIV version of “Macbeth.” Even so, I went into last week’s opening night production of PCPA’s “Macbeth,” directed by Patricia M. Troxel, to see what I could understand.

Here was my gut reaction.

Have you ever seen a foreign film on a television where the subtitles were not clear at the bottom of the screen? That is how I felt at “Macbeth.”

However with the emotion and power of the performances, I was able to understand the story, which is a classic tragedy.

The struggle and need for power is so strong in some that they will do anything to gain it. But the sorrow and guilt involved with their deeds can come back and haunt them, which leads to madness and despair.

The acting in “Macbeth” is superb. Corey Jones is no stranger to Shakespeare, having played “Othello” a few years ago at PCPA. He does an outstanding job as Macbeth, conveying the power and strength at the beginning and the insanity and hopelessness later. Jones is always a powerful force on stage and does not disappoint here, even though I was not able to grasp any meaning of his dialogue.

Other standouts were Elizabeth Stuart as the conniving Lady Macbeth, Evans Eden Jarnefelt as Macduff, PCPA Artistic Director Mark Booher as Banquo and Michael Trembley as Ross.

All four were exciting to watch as their emotions and actions helped me understand what was happening. Stuart shows a great range of emotions throughout the play

Peter S. Hadres is always a wonder to watch, and in his role as the 1st Wyrd Sister, he along with Jazmine Thompson and Melany Juhl as the other two Wyre Sisters, are amazing. Being spooky and humorous at the same time is not easy, but as the trio slithers in and out of the scenes, they are brilliant.

The production had some outstanding action scenes, directed by Booher, that are quite dramatic and riveting.

The set design by Dave Nofsinger and lighting by Jennifer “Z” Zornow are again very good and the sound designer Elizabeth Rebel brings out a powerful tool, as director Troxel called it, another character in the play. Another powerful tool was having percussionist Robert B. Pollard on and around the stage with dramatic sounds that enhanced the production.

Finally, designer Frederick

P. Deeben provided first rate


The large supporting cast moves on and off stage quite well and their energy is strong.

Shakespearean dramas depend on the cast and crew understanding the passion involved and Troxel makes sure that the audience feels it as well.

As someone who rarely understood what was being said, it was quite easy for me to get involved in the action and feel the emotions.

“Macbeth” is a powerful and exciting production to see, with great performances — even for someone who could not understand the language.

To see it:

  “Macbeth” runs through Sunday, March 7 at the Marian Theater in Santa Maria. Showtimes are 2 p.m. for matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Tickets are $26.25 to $28.25 with discounts for children, students and seniors. For tickets call 922-8313 between 1  and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday or go to pcpa.org.


Score: B on the Brad-O-Meter


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