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Be prepared – 'something wicked this way comes...'

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: June 21, 2012

  • Dark tragedy: Oliver Pengelly and James Parkes, who are members of The Lord Chamberlain's Men, are making a welcome return to Lincoln Castle with Macbeth

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The Elizabethan era was all about drama and no-one knew it better than William Shakespeare.

This summer, The Lord Chamberlain's Men are making a welcome return to Lincoln Castle with their performance of one of Shakespeare's most famous works, Macbeth.

Audiences are invited to make the most of the unique setting, including packing a picnic for the event.

The set will be built in the grounds of the city's very own medieval building – the purpose built stage made to resemble a Scottish castle.

The play begins with three witches declaring Macbeth will become king after a series of events. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth take it upon themselves to kill the current king, while the witches reveal three apparitions which tell him what to fear most while on the throne. The play showcases the various circumstances which ultimately lead to Macbeth's demise.

Olly Pengelly, taking on the role of Macbeth, says it gives him the chance to express his dark side.

"I quite often get cast as the nice guy so it's quite nice to play the darker role," he says.

"It's a real challenge because of the emotional journey that he goes through. He really begins to lose his mind.

"In the tour so far we've had lots of teenagers come and I think they are always shocked that Shakespeare could have written something like this.

"People's desire for that gothic world also makes it more relevant to today's audience.

"Essentially the play is about a tyrant, a dictator, that you could link to any dictator in history. I think even if you look in the papers today there are dictators and there are tyrants out there who are doing horrendous things.

"The play is really about how someone gets to that stage? What is it that drives someone to the point where they can do abominable things?

"In Macbeth's case, it's the desire and the power; it's his ambition and I think that is a dangerous human quality."

The Lord Chamberlain's Men, founded in 2004, replicate similar groups which date all the way back to Shakespeare's time and endeavour to remain authentic. The all-male cast also play the female characters as they would have traditionally.

"All of the dress is completely traditional as well and as close to how it would have been and how Shakespeare's own company would have staged it," says Olly.

Recreating the performance, which once appeared on stage at the Globe Theatre in London, does present a number of logistical considerations.

Olly adds: "Everywhere we go presents us with a new challenge because not only is every venue that we play very different vocally, also the surroundings are always very different. We haven't got the effects; it's not like in a theatre where we can use really clever lighting to create the atmosphere or anything like that.

"Basically the only thing we have are Shakespeare's words; using them to create this dark and dangerous world."

The Lord Chamberlain's Men perform Macbeth at Lincoln Castle on Sunday, June 24 (6pm). Tickets: £14.50 (child £8.50). Box office: 01522 873894.

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