Director Susanne Crosby completes the happiest of doubles when she directs Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre in Southwick.
Alongside The Corn is Green – which she directed last year – Macbeth has been on her directorial wish list since childhood.
“When I was at school as a student, I read a lot of plays, but there were two that I really fell in love with. I was fortunate enough to direct The Corn Is Green last October, and the other play I absolutely fell in love with was Macbeth… and now within 12 months, I will have done both of them. It just means that now I will have to read lots of new plays again!”
Macbeth shows us the dangers of ambition without conscience, and what happens when guilt catches up with us and brings us to reckoning: greed, murder, supernatural prophecies – and a very human general who after one dreadful act is propelled headlong into tragedy.
The play is about how those who have unchecked rule and lust for power can destroy everyone and everything in their path, including the ones they say they love.
“I just love the fact that it is so action-packed. It was almost like the first-ever action movie. Hamlet is all talk and not much action. Macbeth is all action and not so much talking. There is a bit of wavering from him at the start, but then he just goes for it.”
Susanne finds herself fascinated by the schism which develops between Macbeth and his ferociously-ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth: “It is interesting coming back to the play and looking at it from a mature point of view rather than as a 14 or 15-year-old girl, and it is such an interesting relationship between the two. They tell each other everything. He tells her absolutely everything… and then all of a sudden he stops. And I think that contributes to her breakdown. It is not just conscience. It is the fact that she has been separated from her soulmate.
“At the start, Macbeth needs just a bit of tipping over the edge, but he could have stopped at any moment, but he doesn’t. It is that lust for power. Lady Macbeth is terrifying, but in a way she is not as terrifying as Macbeth is. He is used to killing people in war. He just needed tipping over and then after that there is very little conscience…
“It is also a play that is looking at the difference between men and women, which is the point of Lady Macbeth’s ‘Unsex me here’ speech… because she is doing things that you just couldn’t usually do as a female. It is fascinating. That whole masculine versus feminine thing is so relevant now.
“And the witches are also interesting. Do they change anything? Or it is just self-fulfilling prophecies? They are incredibly-powerful women, but I see them as society’s outcasts. In my mind they are real women. They just have access into some kind of supernatural world.”
Susanne is keen to create an intimate production of the play: “We are doing it in the round. I want the audience to be close to it. I want the audience to feel part of it. And I am wanting to do it as authentically as I can. I am setting it in Macbeth’s day, when Macbeth was alive, rather than in Tudor times.”
Macbeth opens on Wednesday, March 27 and runs until Saturday, March 30. Tickets from the Barn box office on 01273 597094 or http://www.wicktheatre.co.uk.