It was a good thing all the lights and speakers had tarps draped on them, because they were definitely needed before the third act.
Macbeth in Suggett Park in Cortland came to a premature and very wet end for 70 members of the audience Saturday, as the dark clouds that threatened at 2 p.m. erupted just after the actors successfully completed the first two acts. Then it came down, and everyone ran for cover in the nearby pavilion, across Dry Creek from Wickwire Pool. After 10 minutes, the rain let up, and director Louise Felker vowed to finish the performance.
But the weather refused to cooperate, and an even bigger downpour at 3:10 p.m. brought down the curtain on the afternoon performance, as well as a later one scheduled for 7 that night.
Rain, Felker said, has been a recurring feature of this summer’s outdoor performances. “We’ve had to contend with the weather the entire run,” she said. “But that’s the chance you take with Shakespeare in the park.”
But before the disruption, the audience members said they were enjoying themselves. Such as Cheryl Kramer and her son, Ben, age 9, of Ithaca. They recently returned from a trip to Montreal, where they saw costumes for a Macbeth performance in an art museum. When they returned home, Cheryl looked to see if Macbeth was being performed nearby anytime soon, and sure enough it was, right here in Cortland.
“I think acting is really great, and the rainstorm adds to the drama,” she said.
The rainstorm hit after Macbeth murdered Duncan, and just after a scene that Felker herself had added to the play: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (played by Simon Moody and Danialle Hill) crowning each other following the murder, a brief wordless interlude accompanied by a cover version of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” performed by Lorde.
“Shakespeare didn’t write the coronation, but I bet he’s going to be OK with it,” Felker said.
“I like it,” said Paul Quinlan, who lives near the park. “I think it’s much more intense with the music.”
Jen Rafferty and her daughter Sandra, 5, also said they enjoyed the performance, although Sandra and their dog Onyx were getting a little antsy during Act II and needed to go for a little walk.
“I just think it’s so cool that we’ve got Shakespeare in the park in Cortland,” Rafferty said. “It makes me so happy that there’s such a public celebration of the arts right here.”