PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Macbeth: Cumming and Going

By Harry Haun
22 Apr 2013


Buy this Limited Collector's Edition

But not, insisted Goldberg. "There've been a hundred nips and tucks that nobody would know except for me, but the accumulative effect is better. It's also a quite different space than we were in. The set is 20 feet narrower than the set we were on, so the whole thing is more compact, and the effect of that on lighting and sound design and acting choices—it just allows it to be a much more intimate experience."

Realizing Cumming is a willing conspirator in this three-way exercise, one still wonders how Tiffany directed him. The answer was formal, official and sincere: "It's a privilege and an honor because he is so hard-working and so intelligent. All we have to do, really, is to suggest things here and there, and he will kinda come up with it. I'm so proud of him. He's an old friend and here he is, bringing Macbeth."

The music accompanying this 90-minute ascent into hell is largely unstructured and atonal but oddly and movingly soothing after moments of dissonant stress, like applying salve to a skinned kneecap. It's as unpredictable as the show itself.



"That's a German composer we're both a big fan of—Max Richter," said Tiffany. "He did some music for my Black Watch, and we wanted to use him again, so we did."

In lieu of three actual witches stirring the cauldron, this production has three video cameras covering the important action on stage. At one point, Cumming climbs back into the tub, and, with all three cameras focused on him, he submerges himself for a small eternity with not a muscle stirring in the audience. On opening night this moment without end was 87 breathless moments. I asked Tiffany what the trick was. He smiled sweetly and said, "I'll tell ya, and then I'd have to kill ya, Harry."

Himself arrived—The Star—in celebratory kilts and what could have been a pouch bearing the family coat of arms. It was a festive entrance and gave some much-needed color to a makeshift pressroom cramped into a tiny space outside the cloakroom. The procedure of presenting and receiving coats continued unabated by the glamorous distractions of TV crews pigeonholing any celeb who happened by.

 Continued...