The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival continues its series of free performances of the Bard’s “Macbeth” on Saturdays and Sundays through July 29, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The first tragedy staged by the festival, and the first in the festival’s new official location at Towsley Canyon Park, “Macbeth” opened July 14 and is presented as though the story had taken place in a post-apocalyptic, pre-industrial world.
Lachlan McKinney, a theater student at Carnegie Mellon University, stars in the title role of Macbeth. Scott Hamby, co-starring as Macduff, is a sophomore at Cal Arts.
“The production is going fantastic, audiences are loving the play,” said festival Executive Director David Stears. “If you come out you can expect a beautiful evening under the stars watching one of Shakespeare’s most famous and bloodiest plays.”
Lachlan McKinney and Scott Hamby play Macbeth and a murderer. Photo: Dominick Aznavour.
Stears said it’s OK to bring children. “It’s a classic Shakespeare play. There is some killing, but no gore, ’cause we’re not really killing anyone. And there’s no bad language. So maybe young, young kids may not appreciate it, but I know my 6-year-old sat there and watched the entire production without moving a muscle.”
Madison Stears visited the KHTS-am 1220 studios to talk about Shakespeare in the Park and her lemonade stand. Photo: Carol Rock.
Stears’ 8-year-old daughter Madison is also a member of the festival production crew. “She is running Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which is a fundraiser for childhood cancer,” he said. “We’re very proud of her, and she’s doing a wonderful job offering free lemonade and smiles for a donation.”
The stand is named after another young girl named Alex, who died of cancer when she was 8, but also ran a lemonade stand raising funds for cancer research as she battled the disease.
“Her driveway was full of people, and that was really cool,” said Madison, whose mother found out about Alex and suggested Madison carry on the fundraising tradition. “She told me the story, and I wanted to do it.”
Madison serves two kinds of lemonade at Shakespeare in the Park — “pink and yellow,” she said. “I really like the mix, too.”
Madison said a lot of people visited her stand last weekend. “I don’t know exactly how many, but I know that we raised $103 in two days,” she said.
As most Shakespearean actors know, the name “Macbeth” is never heard inside the theater as the play is performed.
“Many people believe that Macbeth is a cursed play,” Stears explained. “When Shakespeare did his research on the play, he actually used witches’ incantations and people believe it may have cursed the play. So people don’t say the name of the play in the theater. They call it ‘The Scottish Play.’ So we’ll continue performing ‘The Scottish Play’ this weekend and next.”
The Shakespeare Festival is a casual affair, and Stears encourages families to take a blanket and picnic dinner. Wine is available for purchase for those 21 or older.
Prior to each performance of “Macbeth,” actors from the festival’s intern program present pre-show entertainment — a play titled “Hamburger Hamlet” and written by a local playwright.
For more information, visit the SCFS website or follow the festival on Facebook.