For some married couples, acting side by side in one of William Shakespeare's iconic tragedies might spell "double, double toil and trouble." But for University of Illinois Springfield theater professors Eric and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, playing the lead roles in "Macbeth" is a chance to fulfill some of their own ambitions.
The play, directed by Bill Kincaid, opens Friday for seven performances in the UIS Studio Theatre.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "are bucket list roles," said Missy, an associate professor of theater.
First performed around 1606, "Macbeth" tells the story of a Scottish nobleman, spurred on by his wife and the prophecies of three witches, who murders King Duncan (Jim Hepworth) and becomes king himself, only to see his regime collapse in bloodshed, madness and rebellion.
Despite — or more likely because of — violent and occult aspects that gave the play a reputation for being cursed,
In theatrical circles, it is sometimes dubbed "The Scottish Play" because mentioning its name outside of an actual performance was thought to bring bad luck. But that didn't discourage the Thibodeaux-Thompsons from slating "Macbeth" as UIS' fall production this year.
"It plays very well into the Halloween season with its ghosts, witches, and horror," said Christopher V. Marbaniang, a graduate student who appears as Malcolm, Duncan's son and rightful heir.
Since this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and UIS had not staged a Shakespeare play since "As You Like It" in 2009, the Thibodeaux-Thompsons thought it would be an appropriate time to produce another.
"We had done a comedy, so we thought, why not a tragedy," said Eric, associate professor and director of theater. "'Macbeth' has lots of good roles; it's also the shortest of Shakespeare's tragedies, and very action-packed."
The production is UIS' largest ever, with 22 actors in 34 roles, and features sets designed by assistant professor Dathan Powell.
This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 26, 2016.
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