The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Shakespeare’s Macbeth’ takes the stage

A look into the most recent production from the UW-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department
Photo by Elyse Braun
The stage featured a number of changing lights and layers of backgrounds.

The first of two weekends of performances for “Macbeth” took place April 26-28 in the Riverside Theatre of Haas Fine Arts Center. The work was originally written by renowned playwright William Shakespeare around 1606.

The story centers around a Scottish general by the name of Macbeth. He is given a prophecy by three witches that he will one day become King of Scotland. After this discovery, audiences soon see the path that longing for ambition and a lust for power Macbeth journeys on.

This production’s cast and crew are made up of both UW-Eau Claire students, some in the theatre program and some not, as well as a few children from the community who played the younger roles. 

Elizabeth Christine Tanner, director of “Macbeth” has been working in a number of facets to prepare the show for performances.

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“The role of director is to come up with the concept, the overall theme of the show,” Tanner said. “And then in our production meetings with lighting designers, costume design, sound design, technical elements, it’s to get them all on the same page as you are with your concept so that the show as a whole is produced in a cohesive manner.”

Tanner, who is an acting instructor for UW-Eau Claire, said there was an important emphasis on preparing the actors for work as complicated as Shakespeare. Starting last school year, she spent hours with each cast member to help them develop their characters using Shakespreare’s First Folio pronunciation technique.

“I worked with each actor, I pulled them into my office,” Tanner said. “Teaching them how to say it, teaching them what it meant in Layman’s terms, so that when they’re on stage speaking the Shakespearean text they actually know what they’re saying so they can convey the message.”

The production also featured a number of musical elements, some of which were pre-recorded and others that were sung by the actors as they performed on stage. 

The cast used the space in Riverside Theatre to their full advantage as well, some of them deliberately walking up and down the aisles and speaking directly to audience members during monologues.

Colton Nash, a first-year musical theatre student, played the role of Banquo. Banquo, who at the start of the play is Macbeth’s brave and trustworthy friend, is soon seen differently by the work’s main character. Their relationship, throughout the play, is an ever-changing one.

Nash said that a lot of preparation went into preparing his character to get it to be performance ready.

“Banquo was a very difficult role for me to prepare for,” Nash said. “Learning all the different rules of Shakespeare was difficult, but the hardest part was after learning how to function with those rules.”

Though each member of the cast and crew had their own weight to carry in a task as intimidating as a work from Shakespeare, Nash said it was a collective effort that made the final product what it is.

“It was so interesting watching this production become what it is. Shakespeare can appear super daunting, and the scale at which the technical side of it was being discussed was equally massive,” Nash said. “Every single member of this cast, crew and production team fully took on their role.”

Macbeth, as a character, explores the influence of power and masculinity. Specifically, how individualistic tendencies such as his lead to his descent into darkness. This descent, specifically throughout the storytelling aspect, is supported by the surrounding characters. 

Megan Siatczynski, a third-year comprehensive theatre student, plays the roles of First Murderer and Soldier. Siatczynski’s character is one of three murderers who is tasked with doing Macbeth’s bidding in his gradual and growing need for power. 

Siatczynski said that in developing her character, which she has played before, 

“It very much just came from my mind. It was very natural, the inspiration and ideas that I portrayed on the stage,” Siatczynski said. “I had a lot of freedom with this character because of Elizabeth, she gave us a lot of freedom to experiment with our characters.”

In recommending this show for people who don’t know much about it, Siatczynski said that people should do their research before deciding to come.

“It’s very violent, people should know that,” Siatczynski said. “And I would say to look up a quick synopsis. It is Shakespeare, so not a lot of people know the Shakespeare language.”

The entire team, including cast, crew and production, give all they can to tell the story of “Macbeth.” One of the most rewarding parts of it all, according to Tanner, is helping them get there.

“One of my greatest desires and pleasures as a teacher, as an educator, is to see the light bulb moment go off in the actors’ eyes, because that means that they’ve hooked in,” Tanner said. “Once they hook into that language and they feel it, then they say it in a way that matters. And that’s so important.”

For more information on the production and tickets, go to

Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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