Branagh’s ‘Macbeth’ Coming to New York’s Park Avenue Armory in 2014
Excerpted from New York Times, 20 August 2013
Fresh off a highly praised run at the Manchester International Festival in England, a new production of “Macbeth” directed by Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford is coming to Manhattan next year. First mounted in a deconsecrated church with the audience seated in long pews, the play will be reimagined in June for the 55,000-square-foot space in the Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall.
In reprising the title role, Mr. Branagh will make his debut on the New York stage. Alex Kingston, who played Lady Macbeth in the festival production, will also make her New York debut. Additional casting and performance dates will be announced later.
Also joining the New York team are Christopher Oram, the set and costume designer, and Neil Austin, the lighting designer. Their distinctive work on the Manchester production left a vivid impression on audiences, who were warned that they might get dirty during a show with rain effects that turned the stage’s dirt floor into mud, and a kinetic opening fight scene depicting a battle that occurs offstage in Shakespeare’s text.
The Times’s Ben Brantley wrote of the Manchester production: "Mr. Branagh asserts his claim to the usurped throne of Scotland with an utterly assured and intelligent portrait of a desperate and less-than-brilliant man, in a production that steers clear of topical flourishes and postmodern interpolation. Like Mr. Branagh’s most appealing film, “Henry V,” this “Macbeth” is a crowd pleaser in the best sense."
In a statement, Rebecca Robertson, the president and executive producer of the Park Avenue Armory, said, “We are ecstatic to collaborate with Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh, combining their incredible vision with our unconventional space and military history to allow audiences to relive this timeless story in a remarkable new way.”
More information about tickets and scheduling will be made available at armoryonpark.org.