Macbeth: a recollection

Reston Community Players is planning a commemorative booklet of reflections and remembrances to celebrate its 50-year mark. I offered the following story, told by many people since the event. This is my version:

I was a supernumerary in our production of Macbeth in the winter 1993 time slot, directed by Jan Belcher. I filled in the background for the battle scenes; I was a servant opening doors and setting tables; I supported the Bloody Captain during his speech; that sort of thing.

Jan was bluntly opposed to the tradition/superstition that the name of the play not be spoken within the confines of a theater, and she broke the taboo loud and clear on load-in day. Perhaps she was justified: the show went on to weather its share of mishaps and technical delays, but no more than usual.

Except for one night.

The first scene with the witches featured a dead body made of styrofoam, hung as on a gibbet. The three weird sisters (Maggie Geuting among them) did a dance around it, and at the end of scene, performed a wash-up move, cueing the flyman to take the corpse out.

But on this night, the corpse missed its spike and sailed all the way up to the top of the flyspace. We heard a loud bang as it crashed into the grid.

OK, nothing to see here; the play continued.

Lady Macbeth (Penny Cupina) came on for the letter scene. Halfway through the scene, one of the plastic corpse’s legs detached and fell to the deck, with a small crash but no ceremony. The stage manager said, “David, there’s a leg on stage. Can you help us out?” “Uh — sure thing.”

I came on to execute my next assigned gate-attendant maneuver, perhaps a little early. I strode over to the chunk of loose set dressing, scooped it up, and tried my best to hold it upstage of my body.

The gates being opened, Macbeth (Tel Monks) and his entourage entered as I skedaddled off stage and disposed of the artificial limb — to everyone’s relief.

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