Queen Duncan

imageWe sat down with Susan G. Bob, who will be playing Queen Duncan in Macbeth (of the Oppressed), which opens tonight at the Theater at the 14th Street Y to chat Shakespeare and identity.
What do you find most compelling about this production of Macbeth? 
It’s a gender bender production and it works. The male Macbeths played as male and the women taking on the Banquo and MacDuff roles is exciting and adds a rich texture and different dimension to the play.
What has the transition to working on Shakespeare from more contemporary work been like for you? 
For me, working on Shakespeare has been a huge challenge. My approach in working on contemporary work has been so different. I learn my lines in almost a monotone so that when I get with my fellow actors I can just play with them and the spontenaity gives the lines their own colors. Shakespeare is so musical and I find that my approach has had to be different.
The 14th Street Y has been home to a diversity of Jewish artists of all disciplines for many years. What is your relationship with your Jewish identity as an actor? 
I am Jewish and was brought up Jewish and no matter what role I take on in developing it stems from my background and takes off from there.
Anything else you want our readers to know? 
Working on this production has been a real learning experience and struggle for me. This cast, crew and director have been top notch.
Purchase tickets to Macbeth (of the Oppressed) HERE.
SUSAN G. BOB (Queen Duncan) won the 2011 Planet Connections Theater Festivity Award as Outstanding Actress in The Stranger to Kindness written by David Stallings. She also appeared as Sheepshead in David’s Dark Water. Susan originated the role of Dee in the Pulitzer Prize winning play No Place to be Somebody, presented at the Public Theater, Broadway, Off-Broadway and first national tour and was nominated for Best Performance in a leading role by the Los Angeles Drama critics. Her passion is working on new plays. Susan is a member of the New Jersey Repertory Company, performing in many main stage productions. She is a proud member of Manhattan Theater Works (MTWorks) and is excited and grateful for the opportunity to be working on Macbeth. Member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA.

Actor Spotlight: David Stallings

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David Stallings & Antonio Miniño

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 HeadshotDavid 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

Get tickets here.