LADY MACBETH: UNSEX ME HERE (Company Chordelia and Solar Bear): Edinburgh Fringe 2017

What Fringe Festival? The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Phindie writer Kathryn Osenlund visited Scotland to see some shows from the home of Fringe.

Company Chordelia and Solar Bear presents Lady Macbeth Unsex Me Here. Credit Maria Falconer (11)

“Come, thick night.”  Fog swirls in the dance performance space. We hear Lady Macbeth pray to whatever it is she believes in to keep her to her murderous purpose:

“Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood.”


(As we know, although Lady Macbeth can’t bring herself to kill Duncan, she can influence her husband who will get the job done if she forces him. She believes she can deal with the consequences. ) Lady Macbeth is played by three male dancers. Quite different from each other in build and approach, together they express the interiority of Lady Macbeth’s experience. They interact, their movements similar, but not the same– sometimes separate, sometimes together.

Directed and choreographed by Kally Lloyd Jones, Company Chordelia postulates a Lady Macbeth who suffers a remorse beyond the capabillity of Shakespeare’s original Lady Macbeth. This powerful production extrudes manifestations of intene guilt as her earlier prayer failed to “Stop up the access and passage to remorse.” Company Chordelia created the piece with Solar Bear, which champions inclusiveness. British Sign Language is intrinsic to the performance, and a good-sized contingent of D/deaf people was in the audience. The piece was so well done that I couldn’t for sure distinguish the BSL from other symbolic dance gestures. D/deaf audience members had access to this other extension of communication. Did hearing people miss connotations of the other language embedded in the work? I felt for those who could not hear Jesse Godolphin’s glorious sound design, which ranged from piano to wind and ravens, and eventually to the flat-out operatics of Latonis Moore singing Verdi’s Lady Macbeth aria.

Visually stunning , yet so elemental that it feels like classic Greek tragedy. It’s intense and beautiful. It’s horror. It’s extreme, and extremely original. Cast: Thomas  J. Baylis, Jacob Casselden, Jack Webb. This production  rewarded my considerable effort to get to Edinburgh. [Dance Base, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, August 22, 2017,, ]

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About the author

Kathryn Osenlund, theater and film junkie, is a former National Critics Institute fellow, NEA fellow in Arts Journalism, and member of the American Theater Critics Assn Steinberg and Osborn playwriting awards committee. A Barrymore Award nominator and professor emeritus in communications and theater, Kathryn also writes for NY-based On twitter @theatrendorphin.