Rory McGregor directs "Macbeth" for his Thesis Play

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10-Apr-17
 
Current student, Rory McGregor directs William Shakespeare’s time-honored tale of ambition and revenge, Macbeth  for his directing thesis, with performances beginning April 19 at the Connelly Theatre.
 
For McGregor, directing the Scottish play gave him room to look both backwards and forwards. As a member of the McGregor clan, one of Scotland’s oldest, Shakespeare’s tale of violence resonated with a family history of persecution, escape, and war.
 
“It represents both my heritage and the new, in that it’s a text that’s open enough that it let’s me put my stamp on it,” said McGregor. “And for me, the play’s about rebirth and renewal. It’s quite cyclical. At the end we wonder if Malcolm is going to be a leader like Macbeth, or like Duncan, or are they going to forge their own path?”
 
McGregor’s interpretation of the play has also shifted with the major political events of the last year. Macbeth covers three changes in kingship, and questions of personal ambition are layered with larger societal questions about how political power is taken, given, or upheld.
 
“I started to think about Macbeth as someone who is a war hero,” said McGregor. “He comes home, probably has done some horrific things at war, and the witches show him this potential world of power and decadence.”
 
An investigation into Macbeth’s fantasy of power and opulence provides not only a topical interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, but also one that provides opportunities to create a bold theatrical world. McGregor has relished the opportunity to work with the show’s designers and performers—many of whom have been collaborators throughout his time at Columbia—to bring this show to life in a way that breaks new ground for his directorial style.   
 
“Since I started directing six or so years ago, politics has always been at the heart of every one of my productions,” McGregor said. “But now I think everything is so politicized that I’m trying to determine what that means and how to communicate that. For me, theater’s not about telling people how they should feel, it’s about holding a mirror up to our society and asking them what they’re thinking.”
 
Tickets for Macbeth are free with any CUID, $15 for General Admission, and $5 for Seniors; they can be purchased here. Performances are at the Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street, at 8 pm on April 19-21 and at 3 pm and 8 pm on April 22.
 
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.