On Stage


Minimizing Macbeth

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When it comes to Macbeth, William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of war, murder and betrayal typically boasts large casts who share the heavy lifting required to tell the tale of a Scottish general who resorts to bloodshed in order to gain access to the throne. In iDiOM Theater’s 3MB—which opens Thurs., Oct. 12 at the Sylvia Center—the cast is reduced to three. We caught up with longtime thespian Jeff Braswell to find out more about the audacious adaptation.

Cascadia Weekly: How long have you been involved with iDiOM Theater?

Jeff Braswell: I’ve been working with iDiOM since 2006. I’ve been in 25 or so shows over that time.

CW: What are some of your most memorable roles from your involvement with iDiOM?

JB: Twinkles in Clown Bar stands out. Bill in Mike Mathieu’s Squalor is another one. Odysseus in both Briseis and These Seven Sicknesses. I’m a huge fan of the original and challenging works produced at iDiOM—it’s my artistic home.

CW: Which type of characters do you prefer—comic or tragic?

JB: I think I gravitate toward the tragic for stage work. Perhaps I need to explore the darker stuff to balance my generally positive outlook on life.

CW: Something tells me that having only three actors perform Macbeth might also provide some comedy among the tragedy.

JB: We are laughing a lot during rehearsals. It’s always hard to gauge what will strike the audience as funny. Probably the murderers.

CW: How many actors are typically in a performance of Macbeth? How may will you be portraying?

JB:There are about 30 roles in Macbeth. I would guess that 15 to 20 or more players typically take the stage. I play about 10 roles, though some are just a line or two. King Duncan, Banquo, Macduff, Lady Macduff, a witch and one of the murderers are the main ones; assorted lords and messengers, as well as an apparition or two, fill out the bill.

CW: How in the heck does one go about remembering lines and stage directions for a show like this?

JB: You essentially have to learn the whole play. I don’t think anyone is offstage for more than a handful of minutes, and there are tons of cues and other business to be incorporated too.

CW: Tell me a little about working with your fellow actors—Evan Frazier and Linnaea Groh.

JB: We’re having a good time. I hadn’t worked onstage with either of these two before, but they’re great. When you’ve danced for hours around a witches’ cauldron with someone, you form a bond.

CW: What’s your favorite line in the play?

JB: “Now does he feel his title hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” Also, “Bleed, bleed, poor country.” A couple of timely lines ripped from today’s headlines.

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