Arts Society & Culture

Digital technology, ancient curses collide in University Theatre’s ‘Macbeth’

University Theatre “Macbeth” Dane Alexander-h.action
Senior theatre major Dane Alexander as Macbeth in the University Theatre's production. Photo by John Paul Gallagher.

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Theatre will conclude its 2012-2013 season with a media-rich production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” directed by David Saltz. The play will be performed April 11-12 and 17-20 at 8 p.m. and April 14 and 21 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Saltz, head of the UGA department of theatre and film studies, describes Macbeth as “Shakespeare’s most relentlessly gripping and accessible play.” Putting a postmodern twist on the Bard’s tale of treason and ambition, the University Theatre production will employ large, translucent LED curtains that display animations and video flying into various positions over, behind and in front of the actors to achieve Saltz’s vision for freshly staging Macbeth’s more sinister and stunning events.

University Theatre teamed with UGA alumnus Rick Clark of EDG (Entertainment Design Group) in Atlanta to furnish the stage with a towering and moveable three-piece, multi-level set.

The production imagines the play’s witches both as embodied and as a kind of Internet-age viral infection. The witches move from victim to victim, striking first Macbeth and eventually contaminating Lady Macbeth to fan the flames of Macbeth’s hunger for power. Ivan Ingermann, associate professor of costume design, embedded programmable LED lighting into the costumes for the witches and the characters they infect, and associate professor Mike Hussey’s multimedia and performance students worked closely with Saltz to design and animate for the production. Fine arts/expanded forms major Chris Howe is assisting with interactive media.

In 1997, Saltz founded the Interactive Performance Laboratory at UGA, and its series of productions incorporating digital technology have received international attention. According to Saltz, his rendition of Macbeth is the most ambitious of these productions to date.

“While I love experimenting with new and exciting ways to use technology, for me it still ultimately all comes down to the actors,” Saltz said. “I use technology for one purpose—to enhance the work of the live performers. … In the best Shakespeare performances, we become completely engrossed in what’s happening on stage, and we forget that we’re watching Shakespeare.”

Commonly called the “Scottish play” by actors and theatre people-especially when in a theatre-Macbeth has spawned legendary superstition and fear among actors and spectators alike in its 400-plus years of performance. For the superstitious, the play’s ill-luck comes from the belief that Shakespeare used actual witches’ spells in his dialogue for the three weird sisters who predict Macbeth’s rise as Scotland’s king.

Tickets are $16, $12 for students and can be purchased at, by phone at 706/542-4400, at the Performing Arts Center box office or at the door before the show.

For more information on the UGA department of theatre and film studies, see

The cast includes freshman theatre major Myles Haslam; sophomore theatre majors Thaddaeus J. Abbott, Isaac Hopkins, Amy Levin, Geoff Newell, Brooke Owens and Emerald Toller; junior theatre majors Jennifer Latimore, Callie Still and Jase Wingate; senior theatre majors Malcolm Campbell-Taylor, Will Murdock and Dane Troy Alexander; and masters of fine arts performance students Zack Byrd, Wyatt Geist, Natalia Hernandez, Moses C. McGruder and Stephanie Murphy. Guest performers include Havivah Saltz and Noah Saltz.