Next week, Masque Theatre perform Macbeth in the Amphitheatre at Wicksteed Park. Jen Kenny who stars as the infamous Lady Macbeth, talks about the production.
“So foul and fair a day I have not seen,” says Macbeth at the beginning of perhaps one of the Bard’s most well-known plays. Well, I for one will be hoping for a succession of fair days, as I take on one of the most famous roles, playing Lady Macbeth herself.
This version is a shortened down script, originally adapted by the late Ursula Wright and updated by Alex Rex. Ursula was a real inspiration to me and many others that form this cast and crew. She was the director that took a huge chance on me, giving me the role of Margie in Lilies on the Land (2015), a four-woman play about the land girls of WW2. She worked me hard with great attention to detail and I hope to do as good a job in this role.
Ursula was always looking for opportunities for more women to get involved in Masque and this is also very true of the directors, Tamsyn Payne and Alex Rex, who brought their spectacular production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Wicksteed Park last year. I was lucky enough to be involved in that play as part of the faerie ensemble, which was a real joy. It is always great to meet new members and indeed this production features some new Masque members, notably Stewart McGrath, (Actors Company, Playhouse Theatre ) who plays the murderous Macbeth (although of course, I do all of the planning).
As with many Masque productions, close friends have been made during the rehearsal and performance process which is one of the things I love about this group. (We still have a What’s App group running from last year’s production of Antony and Cleopatra to meet up socially and support each other’s new ventures).
Macbeth Wicksteed Park
This production features a band of witches (each given a name and character notes in our script). They exude feminine strength, energy and through the clever use of music, song and dance, they punctuate the play with their chants, movements and melodies. Having watched even the first rehearsals, (choreographed by Mary O’Brien) it is clear they are all working in tune with one another to create some fantastic images. I feel a strange affinity to them having played a witch myself in the last Masque production in 2016.
One of the most exciting parts of being involved in this play is to watch how the sword fights have also developed. We are lucky enough to have Rosie Chapman on board as a fight coordinator who along with ,newcomer to Masque, Dave Gotheridge ( who I persuaded to get involved as a fellow member of improv group The Same Faces and is also a highly experienced Viking re-enactor), has created some strikingly realistic scenes, which are going to look amazing against the backdrop of Wicksteed Park as the sun sets .
This play runs at about an hour, but all the famous quotes are in there and the plot is easy to follow. It is pacey, visually stunning and family friendly.
Now, I am off to wash my hands… I just can’t seem to get them clean.
Lady M (Jen Kenny)
Macbeth runs on Wed 15 & Thu 16 Aug at 6.00pm & 8.00pm, in The Amphitheatre, Wicksteed Park, Barton Road, Kettering NN15 6NJ. Booking in advance is RECOMMENDED as a limited number of tickets are available – To book phone 01536 512475. Tickets are £2.50, babes in arms are free. This is a family-friendly production.