By: Sydney Vollmer
Actors have this weird superstition about the name “Macbeth.” I know you’re not supposed to say it inside a theater unless you’re actually rehearsing the play, but I wonder if there is an official rule on saying it outside before the show starts. My reason for asking is that this summer the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has chosen to add Macbeth to their list of free Shakespeare in the Park performances along with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet.
Both Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been discussed within my blogs so far. So, let’s take a moment to focus on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (No, not Voldemort, though they both have that whole “I’ll kill you to get what I think is mine” thing going for them). For the sake of time, and in an effort to not be confusing, I’ll just come out and say it. Macbeth. There.
Never having made it to a Shakespeare in the Park performance, I can’t begin to tell you what the production will look like. However, I can give you some visuals for how it would look in in the Highlands. Interestingly enough, this is Shakespeare’s only play that is set in Scotland. It is also interesting that Scotland is the only country I’ve ever visited, with the exception of Canada. Maybe this is coincidence. Maybe it was fate.
We go back to my freshman year of college—long before I had any sort of inkling that I would be working for the Archives & Rare Books Library, much less spearheading a Shakespeare commemoration project. That was truly the start of it all, though. Who was the faculty leader on that trip? None other than Head Archivist Kevin Grace (or KG, as we all so lovingly called him). Our focus was on the culture of books and reading. After all, that was the title of the class. During the trip, the twenty of us were required to interview individuals on their reading habits. We were also required to each write one page of a ghost story. Our ghost wasn’t anything like Banquo’s, but it was quite spooky (if not also a little ridiculous).
In between our schoolwork, we did manage to see plenty of sights, including multiple castles and the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands. These pictures should give you some good mental images for when you see the play this summer. Although the traditional setting of Macbeth is dark and stormy (and heaven knows Scotland gets its fair share of clouds and rain), we’re hoping for sunshine and cloudless skies as the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company performs in various parks around the city.
To see the summer schedule for MacBeth and the other productions, follow this link: http://cincyshakes.com/events/free-shakespeare-in-the-park/. And to learn about our 2015-2016 commemoration of the Shakespeare quadricentennial, have a look at our web exhibit: http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/shakespeare400/. You can discover more about the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library by going to our web page http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb.html, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling us at 513.556.1959, visiting us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library, or following us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati.