Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma are to star in a new site-specific production of Macbeth staged in warehouses in Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Washington DC.
The production will reunite the actors with Simon Godwin, who directed them in an acclaimed staging of Man and Superman at the National Theatre in London in 2015.
Fiennes takes on the title role after playing a host of Shakespearean leads on stage in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Richard III and Antony and Cleopatra (in a 2018 production also directed by Godwin). In 2011 he starred in his own film version of Coriolanus, shot in Serbia and resonating with modern-day conflicts.
“Macbeth is a play that always carries relevance but with wars in Ukraine and Sudan – and murderous authoritarian regimes very present in the world – the play seems particularly current,” said Fiennes. “But Shakespeare’s examination of the minds of his protagonists – the intimate nature of this – is what gives the play its brilliant and terrifying focus.”
Varma, who plays Lady Macbeth, said she was thrilled to explore the tragic couple’s “fraught relationship” and that the play’s “themes of ambition and corruption still feel chillingly poignant in our modern world”. Varma’s recent London stage productions include Present Laughter at the Old Vic (which won her an Olivier award) and The Seagull opposite her Game of Thrones co-star Emilia Clarke. Varma is now starring in Netflix’s thriller Obsession, based on Josephine Hart’s novel Damage.
Macbeth is presented by Wessex Grove and Underbelly, in association with Washington DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company which Godwin joined as artistic director in 2019. It will open in Liverpool in November, then run in Edinburgh in January, London in February and March and Washington DC in April. Tickets for the UK dates will go on sale in June while tickets for the US run are on sale now as part of a six-play subscription to Shakespeare Theatre Company’s season. The set design is by Frankie Bradshaw and the play is adapted by Emily Burns.
Godwin called Macbeth “a remarkable portrait of a marriage and a terrifying account of the drift towards tyranny” and said Shakespeare “has the capacity to urgently reflect our shared and volatile present”.
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