We sat down with David Stallings, Production & Events Coordinator here at the 14th Street Y, who will be taking the stage in Fab Marquee’s production of Macbeth (Of The Oppressed) this fall in our Theater.
Tell us about what makes this production of Macbeth unique.
David: This is not your classic or traditional Shakespeare production. Macbeth has always been one of my favorite plays. It certainly is one of the most quoted texts in the English Language. But to me, it always smacked of sexism and there are only so many all white productions my palate can handle these days. It’s just not representative of our world. So when the idea began, to swap the sexes of several major characters and change only simple pronouns, our team got very excited. Suddenly the qualities ideal in a man are also ideal in a woman, and the bad choices made in the play are not grounded in gender. You’ll find women fighting men while wielding battle axes; not doing the laundry. Also, the chance to create an ethnically diverse world is exciting.
What about playing Husband Macbeth is most exciting to you and what is most challenging?
David: I am excited about the “love story” aspect of the play. To play Husband Macbeth opposite my real life husband truly grounds me in the fact that everything I say must come from a place of truth and love. Also, as a gay man, I am often asked to put on a masculinity I find false–especially when doing Shakespeare. But with all gender roles basically thrown out the window, I get to be myself and find the honesty of every moment. What is most challenging is the amount of energy this play demands.
As a playwright yourself, what do modern audiences have to learn from Shakespeare’s plays?
David: Shakespeare’s stories are timeless. I think modern audiences often disconnect from them because they are treated with an almost biblical reverence. In truth, Shakespeare was anything but reverent. He challenged authority, rewrote history, invented words, and completely influenced the world. I think audiences can still find the poetic truths of Shakespeare if they are presented as irreverently as he intended them to be.
Is there anything else you want us to know?
We love the 14th Street Y! And for Y Members, we are offering our lowest price: $10! Just write in the discount code “YMember” in the unlock code box. I hope to see you there!
David Stallings has been involved with New York theater for ten years as an actor and playwright. Acting Credits include: New York Theater: Sweet Sweet Spirit (MTWorks), Farewell to Sanity (Planet Connections Festival, Winner Best Actor in a Leading Role), Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde (Nominated Best Actor by Thespis Theater Festival), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Played Lord Henry, Directed by Glory Kadigan), A Home Across The Ocean (Theatre Row), Folie A Deux (MTWorks), Big Love (Theater for a New City), Book of the Dun Cow (Prospect Theater Co.), Merry Wives of Windsor (Prospect Theater Co.), Romeo and Juliet (Wooden O Productions), The Maids (The Independent Theater), Love and Garbage (Blue Heron Theater), and many more. Favorite Regional Roles include: Tuzenback (Three Sisters), Jack (Into the Woods), and Joshua/Gerry (Cloud Nine). David also performed in The Santa Fe Opera’s production of The Beggar’s Opera, as Jimmy Twitcher. The author of 15 full length plays and numerous shorts, David’s plays have reached audiences across the US. Most recently his play about the Louisiana oil spill told from the perspective of the animals, Dark Water, premiered at the 14th Street Y and won the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Full Length Script
“He’s (David Stallings) a powerful actor, slight in build, but riveting in his intensity. His humanity shines like a diamond” NY Theater Now on Sweet Sweet Spirit
“Lord Henry (David Stallings), is a joy to watch and listen to; his comments are skillfully filled with the sarcasm and unrelenting wit you would expect from the character. He influences Dorian in a masterful way, presenting a lifestyle which mostly values beauty and the gratification of the senses.” -Theatre Is Easy on The Picture of Dorian Gray
Macbeth (of the Oppressed) October 8th -24th at the 14th Street Y