October 25, 2021

Troupe to perform ‘Macbeth’ in park

Photos by Katie Keyser/living & leisure editor

Simon Moody, left, of Auburn, plays Macbeth for the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” at Suggett Park. He fends off a blow from Dave Van Hamlin of Cortland, who plays Macduff. Louise Felker, director, provides cues during the July 24 rehearsal.

Dave Van Hamlin of Cortland is expanding his public repertoire.

The front man for the rock and roll band Sanjuro Fields is playing Macduff for an upcoming Shakespeare in the Park play.

“I am having fun. I have never done Shakespeare in the Park. I have never done Shakespeare. This is my first Center Player show.”

Van Hamlin was dueling it out in a sword fight with Macbeth, played by Simon Moody of Auburn, on a recent summer night at Suggett Park.

“I like language,” Van Hamlin said. “I have cribbed a lot of Shakespeare for lyrics.”

The Center Players will stage “The Tragedy of Macbeth Aug. 9 to 18 at Suggett Park in Cortland. The shows, directed by Louise Felker, are free.

The details

A free showing of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” will take place in Suggett Park near the Rotary Shelter on the following days and times. If rain, the show will be canceled.

Showtimes are:
• 7 p.m. Aug. 9
• 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 10
• 2 p.m. Aug. 11
• 7 p.m. Aug. 16
• 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 17
• 2 p.m. Aug. 18.

“It’s going really well,” Felker said. “Because this is an exciting play to direct. It’s an exciting play to be in and it will be an exciting play to watch.” “It’s a challenging play. It’s not fluff. The actors have to work,” she said, and the audience has to pay attention.

“Plus it’s Shakespeare, and you know how I feel about Shakespeare,” said the longtime director of the Homer Shakespeare Society at Homer High School.

Macduff is a bit cavalier, but loyal, Van Hamlin said. “He’s a gentleman. He’s a family man but I don’t think he fully appreciates the family he’s had until they are lost.”

Simon Moody of Auburn couldn’t resist an opportunity to play Macbeth.

“It’s the titular role,” Moody said. “He goes through a tremendous arc as an honorable and loyal man … to a despotic and power hungry man.”

Macbeth, a Scottish general, hears a prophecy from three witches that he will one day become the king of Scotland. He becomes consumed with ambition, murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne.

A set model of “Tragedy of Macbeth” that will be staged for free in the Center Players’ Shakespeare in the Park production.

“I love it. It’s a a bucket list role,” Moody said. “That’s why I am here. I love playing outdoors. I used to play the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival… I have done Shakespeare maybe 40 years. It’s more second nature to me than most. I relish the language. That’s part of the magic of it… Of all of Shakespeare’s plays, this is one of the most dramatic.”

“It moves right along,” said Tom Corey of Dryden, who plays Duncan, King of Scotland. “There’s never a dull moment.”

Danialle Hill of McGraw returns to the stage after a 20-year hiatus to play Lady Macbeth.

“She’s a very ambitious woman,” Hill said. She hears the prophecy by the witches and manipulates her husband toward his kingship. “This character, it’s new for me but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Hill used to do theater in high school. And getting back on stage after several years is manageable: “It’s like riding a bike.”

Brennan Clune, a Homer ninth-grader, plays Young Siward in the show.

“I have done Shakespeare before, in school, with Louise. I did last summer’s Shakespeare in the Park and two others in school,” Clune said. It took him two Shakespeare plays to feel comfortable with the language.

“I think this is better than more of the modern plays,” he said. “It has more class. It’s not making fun of one thing or another.”