(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — July 6, 2022) The Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival is closing its 2022 season with one of the most performed tragedies in theater history, but under the guiding hand of a veteran director seeing the play in a new way.
“I grew up with productions of `Macbeth’ that felt like the tale of a coldhearted murderer who reaps what he sows,” said director Brett Elliott. “This production will present the Scottish king and his lady differently. I see him as a decent man who talks himself into doing the unthinkable. Once he crosses that line, he regrets it instantly, but of course, it’s already too late.”
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, the professional theater company of California Lutheran University, will present “Macbeth” at 8 p.m. July 23-24, 28-31 and Aug. 5-7 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus.
Festival co-founder and 14-time director Michael Arndt is a cast member for the first time, playing Duncan, the king of Scotland.
Elliott also has been with the festival since its founding 25 years ago and serves as associate artistic director. He has directed several Kingsmen productions and played several of the lead roles. The company’s last production of the seemingly cursed Scottish play in 2009 was beset by a rapid succession of minor and major misfortunes. That and the lingering pandemic have made Elliott and the rest of the company particularly cautious as they prepare to present “Macbeth” at what seems like an important time.
“For me, the play, at its heart, is an examination of what happens to a person’s soul when they turn their back on their own beliefs,” Elliott said. “Looked at in this light, the play feels immediate, pressing and extremely relevant to the world around us — uncomfortably so.”
Matt Orduña, who debuted at the festival in 2018 as Othello, is Macbeth. Kingsmen veteran Caroline Kinsolving plays Lady Macbeth. This year’s festival features an improved sound system and larger lighting truss. Christopher Hoag composed the music, Leigh Allen designed the lighting, and Erik Diaz is scenic designer.
The grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Entertainment begins at 7 p.m. with the John C. Slade Apprentice Company Comic Greenshow, followed at 7:15 p.m. by a talk-back with Arndt, cast members and production designers in Will’s Corner.
Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and older and active military, $15 for students 18 and older with ID, and free for children. Lawn boxes, which accommodate four to six people, are $90 to $110. Online ticketing is available for an additional fee. For more information and tickets, visit kingsmenshakespeare.org or call 805-493-3452.