A joke will meet its tragic fate tonight as UCSB thespians perform a comedic version of Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth.
Presented in the traditional setting of an open-air theater, the play will be performed for free at 7 p.m. in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park — Isla Vista’s own Globe Theatre — tonight and tomorrow. The troupe, consisting entirely of UCSB students, will present the timeless piece in Commedia dell’arte fashion, donning masks depicting archetypical Shakespearean characters. This Shakespeare in the Park performance is funded by Isla Vista Live.
Brian Bock, a second-year theater major, said he hopes the play will be a hit.
“It will definitely get a lot of audience participation,” he said. “I feel like our rendition is raw comedy. It’s easy for audiences to get. It’s just like silly sexual humor — sometimes it’s necessary.”
Graduate student and writer director Gerry Hansen said she adapted the play in response to the challenging nature of the piece.
“I am both writer and director [which came about from] my love of intercultural theater and the desire to challenge myself by combining the disparate theatrical styles of a text-based Shakespeare play alongside the physically based Commedia dell’arte acting style,” Hansen said.
Patrick Bailey, a first-year theater major playing the part of Malcom, said he joined the comedy troupe because of his love for the stage.
“Commedia is about living life,” he said. “It’s about celebrating humans as nothing but what we are. We are shown to be and live as we were made. It’s all about continual human exercise.”
Even though Shakespeare is notorious for his complex language, Bailey said the challenges of memorizing iambic pentameter and attending four-hour daily rehearsals have not hindered his overall experience on the troupe.
“I love Shakespeare,” Bailey said. “I think he was chosen because he is a symbol of pristine education. He is known to deliver long speeches, some of which are surmised into nonsense. It’s just fantastic.”
Although the plot is similar to Macbeth, Bock said “Mcbeth” is innovative and refreshing.
“I’m not entirely sure that the story of Macbeth is told,” Bock said. “But I’m hoping that our rendition will be able to tell it in a comedic manner.”
Students can also catch “Mcbeth” Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the UCSB Studio Theater. All performances are free.