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Director hopes local artists will make "Macbeth" scary good
Ojai Valley News, March 16, 2018
When the local production of “Macbeth”opens March 16 at the Ojai Art Center Theater, director Michael Addison hopes hi s efforts to bring together actors, artists, musicians, and others in the creative community will provide a multi-sensory production that exposes the pure core of this classic play — power.
A key visual element, he said, will be the nonlinear set design.
“I did not want it to be immediately representational because I felt that would be limiting,” he explained. “It’s clearly a castle, but also out on the heath, in the field, hither and yond. Therefore, we moved in an abstract direction.”
Addison brought together designer Kenny Dahle and fiber artist Carol Shaw-Sutton. Dahle designed a n umber of sets for Ojai Art Center productions, most recently for “Animal Crackers.”
“I had seen Carol’s work early on when she first came to Ojai. I was struck by how she manipulates fabric to create haunting images, some which are purely abstract. Some of Carol’s pieces looked like flayed creatures dried out in the sun. The idea I developed with her and Kenny was to mount these fabrics to suggest walls so that we could have ghosts floating in the air or could be portraits hanging on the wall inside a castle, depending on scene and lighting.
“Another element I wanted was a certain decrepitude. Carol and a number of fabric artists workedas a team, drawing on the rich body of talent we have in Ojai. They’ve created pieces to be like trophies or trees in the forest, whatever Claire Cleary the lighting designer makes them appear to be. Team members are from the Ojai Fiber Collective: Kyle Crowner, Pat Edwards, Mary Mohr, and Wendy Osher.
“In the costume department, happily, I’ve worked with our costume designer, Mary Crane, who has a rich background and strong visual eye. For this production, Mary has strongly reinforced the nature of the various characters through fabric and color choices.”
To raise the audience’s sensory experience, Addison added a musical score of percussion created by professional percussionist John Lacques. A wide variety of sounds will make up the aural background for the action and bring another dimension to the total effect of the play. Jaye Hersh is the production’s vocal consultant.
What does Addison hope for from all of this preparation? “I’m hoping we will have a production that will scare the bejesus out of people!”
Opening night will be marked with a celebration after the show with Addison and the cast.
Photo caption: Designers (from left) Ken Dahle and Carol Shaw-Sutton examine a flayed-fiber set piece with director Michael Addison.
Photo by Alexander David Schottky