A unique way to focus on the extraordinary eloquence and drama of Shakespeare’s language is to eliminate all visual distraction, and that is precisely what John Schultz has done in TILL BIRNAM WOOD—a rapid-fire 55-minute adaptation of Macbeth that is performed before a blindfolded audience. Like life, it is a “tale . . . full of sound and fury” that compels us to envision the darkness of the actions, characters, and locales through dialogue, live and pre-recorded sound effects, and aromas.
The notable cast members (featuring Keith Conallen as Macbeth, Jennifer Summerfield as Lady Macbeth, and Josh Hitchens, Kevin Rodden, and John Schultz as the warriors and noblemen) get up-close and personal as they demolish the theater’s proverbial fourth wall. They move around the space, weaving through the audience, enveloping us in the story and releasing the fragrances of the banquet’s wine and the forest’s growth for us to inhale, while the weird sisters (the spine-tingling Rachel Brodeur, Katherine Perry, and Angela Smith) shriek and whisper their frenzied incantations in our ears. As advertised, Schultz’s ensemble creates an “immersive sensory experience” in a Fringe-friendly approach to making Shakespeare accessible. [Studio X, 1340 S. 13th St.] September 5-14, 2014; fringearts.com/till-birnam-wood-5.