Is This a Saber Which I See Before Me?

June 2, 2015

 

Last Sunday, GeeksAGogo had the pleasure of taking in a showing of MacSith—a retelling of MacBeth, set in the Star Wars universe. It may sound a bit weird, but the two make for an excellent mash-up. Star Wars films seem to be at their best when they are at their darkest. Most critics and fans tend to agree that "The Empire Strikes Back" is the both the best of the series, and the darkest of the original trilogy. Perhaps that is why putting Shakespeare's darkest, bloodiest play in the Star Wars universe worked as well as it did. Not to mention, that it's refreshing to see a Star Wars story with decent dialogue for a change...

 

Pictures were modified and not actual scenes from the play

 

 

So, on to the show itself. The play follows Shakespeare's source material quite closely. For the most part the names are the same. The only exception seems to be that MacBeth is now called MonBeth in a nod to Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma. Place names remain the same, though some places, such as Northumberland, are now planets instead of regions. There were a few changes to characters as well: MonBeth, Banquo, and Lennox are now Jedi instead of generals and noblemen. MonBeth (or MacSith, as he is called after his betrayal) hires bounty hunters clad in Mandelorian armor and wookie pelts to carry out his dirty work. The witches now answer to a Sith lord. The ghostly visions that haunt MacBeth are now force ghosts like the ones that Luke Skywalker sees at the end of "Return of the Jedi".

 

Pictures were modified and not actual scenes from the play

 

 

What is surprisingly in-tact in this play is Shakespeare's original writing. The play isn't quite word-for-word, but it follows the original with surprising accuracy. Most of the dialogues and soliloquies that you (barely) remember from high school are still there—but interspersed with space battles and awesome lightsaber duels. Lady MonBeth screams, "Out, damned spot!", the witches wait for the hurly-burly to be done, and Birnam wood still comes to Dunsinane. The wording makes a few concessions for new setting, as in the titular line of this review: "Is this a Saber I see before me?", swapping the original play's "daggar" for "saber" in reference to the lightsabers of the Star Wars universe. Those who know the source material will be rewarded by hearing that line cleverly worked into a sparring match between the King Duncan's Jedi knights, instead of MacBeth's famous soliloqy. The play still feels like Shakespeare's MacBeth, with the language largely intact, with George Lucas' mythical world subtly intertwined.

 

 

 

Another surprise that comes with this play is the action. Worked into the story are a series of fantastic action scenes that look amazing on stage. The scenes in which the bounty hunters seek out Banquo, and then MacDuff's family are drawn out into spectacular lightsaber battles. The lights go down and the fog machines go on for maximum cinematic effect. Though, in a live play, there is only so much the actors can do to simulate combat, this production does an amazing job of giving the look and feel of a lightsaber duel that you've come to expect from a Star Wars film.

 

Pictures were modified and not actual scenes from the play

 

 

MacSith is a production of the E.D.G.E Theater company at the Pendulum Theater Space at 1803 West Byron St, Chicago IL. It's original run was from April 30th-May 24th 2015, but has been extended through June 14th, due to popular demand.

 

 

Tickets sell out fast, so get them quick: http://edgeoforion.com/

 

Whether you're a nerd who read too many books, a geek who watched too many movies, or a parent who wants to make the classics fun for their child—you should see this play.

 

 

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