Noteworthy News

School of Stage and Screen presenting drama ‘Macbeth is the New Black’

Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen opens its spring Mainstage theatre season Wednesday, Feb. 17, with the gripping drama “Macbeth is the New Black.”

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 through Saturday, Feb. 20, at WCU’s Hoey Auditorium.

The adaptation by Jayne Morgan and Linda Parsons Marion of William Shakespeare’s legendary tragedy “Macbeth” takes the audience along with Dylan and Suzanne, two theatre artists who enter a women’s juvenile detention center hoping to change the inmates’ lives by staging the production with them, said Claire Eye, director for the WCU production and assistant professor in the School of Stage and Screen. When circumstances cause the young woman playing Macbeth to fall too deeply into her character, chaos ensues and blood is spilled.

Through a one-way mirror at the detention center, superintendent Pierce (Drew Starkey) observes and lusts for inmate Jackie (Claire Vanderlinden, on right) as she and fellow inmate Trina (Samantha Alicandri) hatch their plan to kill him.

Through a one-way mirror at the detention center, superintendent Pierce (Drew Starkey) observes and lusts for inmate Jackie (Claire Vanderlinden, on right) as she and fellow inmate Trina (Samantha Alicandri) hatch their plan to kill him.

While there are significant roles for women in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” including the iconic Lady Macbeth, the production provides an opportunity for female theatre and musical theatre majors to perform in roles traditionally held by men, Eye said.

Samantha Alicandri, a senior musical theatre major from Weehawken, New Jersey, takes on the role of Trina the inmate and Macbeth the doomed Scottish king, and Claire Vanderlinden, a senior musical theatre major from Greensboro, plays Jackie and Lady Macbeth.

Other cast members include Sarah Luckadoo, a senior acting major from Hickory, as Suzanne and Macduff; Cory Phelps, a senior acting major from St. Petersburg, Florida, as director Dylan; and Drew Starkey, a senior from Stanley majoring in stage and screen, as the abusive superintendent Pierce.

The nefarious weird sisters, or “witches,” of “Macbeth” are played by senior stage and screen major Margaret Carpenter of Greensboro; junior musical theatre major Zoe Manolas of Kitty Hawk; and senior musical theatre major Cierra Sokoloski of Jacksonville.

In addition to Eye taking on directorial duties, other School of Stage and Screen faculty members contributing to the production include Jayme McGhan, set design; Dustin Whitehead, fight choreography; and Susan Brown-Strauss, costume design and blood effects. Jennifer Stadleman, a junior stage and screen major from Franklin, and Tyler Canada, a senior acting major from Winston-Salem, are handling lighting design.

The show includes adult language and content and is not suitable for young audiences.

Tickets are $21 for adults; $16 for senior citizens and WCU faculty and staff; and $10 on the day of the show ($7 in advance) for students. Tickets are available by contacting the box office of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 828-227-2479 or online at bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.

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