Pictonian cast in Antigonish production of Macbeth

Amanda Jess
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ANTIGONISH – Brady O’Brien identifies with Shakespeare’s Macduff.

Brady O’Brien as Macduff, centre, and Philip Cooper as Macbeth face off during rehearsal. SUBMITTED – MAUREEN OVERMARS

He notes Macduff is often reserved, taking everything in. This makes it easier for O’Brien to get into character during Theatre Antigonish’s production of Macbeth.

“I like to think I’m a good listener.”

O’Brien travels from Pictou a few times a week for group rehearsals.

This is far from his first performance.

He’s been acting for 13 years.

O’Brien remembers a local theatre group came to Pictou Elementary, looking for people to audition for Tiny Tim in a production of the Christmas Carol.

O’Brien went up against dozens of kids for the part, and landed it.

He did several productions with them, acted in high school plays and is now on his second performance with the Antigonish company.

The former Dalhousie University student’s last role was Tom Buchanan in Theatre Antigonish’s The Great Gatsby.

It was a challenge for him, but one he rose to.

“I’m not like him at all,” O’Brien said, adding that his family could hear people in audience saying that they wanted to hit him – meaning he was playing the part to a tee.

Although it’s easier to picture himself as Macduff, it still comes with its difficulties.

In his role, he discovers a dead body and hears the news that his wife and children were murdered.

“It’s tough to convey that to the audience.”   

The play is one of William Shakespeare’s most well-known.

Director Ed Thomason notes that it combines action with perceptive psychology.

Macbeth is told by three women that he will one day be the king of Scotland. This leads him and his wife, Lady Macbeth, to plot a devious plan to steal the throne.

“It’s a fascinating portrait of how wrongdoing can eat away at the heart,” Thomason said.

Thomason, in his eighth season with the Theatre Antigonish, says preparing has been hectic, but exciting.

“There’s a very talented group of actors.”

Theatre Antigonish veteran actor Philip Cooper was cast in the lead role of Macbeth, while his wife will be portrayed by first year St. Francis Xavier University student Melanie MacKay.

This time of year usually signals a Shakespearan play for the production company, and they don’t disappoint.

Macbeth won’t be an exception to that.

It keeps people interested until the end, wondering if Macbeth is going to pull off his scheme.

At the same time, the character development makes the audience pity them, despite their flaws.

Macbeth will be performed at the Bauer Theatre in Antigonish on Feb. 6-9 and 13-16 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting the box office at 867-3333, or online at https://tickets.festivalantigonish.com

Organizations: Theatre Antigonish, Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University Bauer Theatre

Geographic location: Antigonish, Scotland

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