Q: Antoni Cimolino has given this production an extremely dark and fearful tone. What sort of research did you do regarding the supernatural elements?
KP: As a cast, we met with a spiritualist to get an introduction to the supernatural world we were about to enter into. We researched the history of witchcraft, and there was a lot of play and exploration about how the characters might be affected by the supernatural in the play. Even when they aren't on stage, the witches are ever present in the story.
IL: A standout in preparation was meeting with a medium as a small group. She spoke with us about the spirit world - about benevolent and malevolent spirits. She also spoke about the power we can give to the supernatural with our own beliefs and mindsets, which I think is a huge part of the play.
Q: What do you see as your characters' greatest strengths and weaknesses?
KP: I think Lady Macbeth's biggest weakness is also her biggest strength: her ambition. It gives her the courage and the ferocity to go after what she wants for herself and her husband, but it blinds her. She doesn't think of the consequences of her actions and she underestimates her own humanity. When she does come to realize, it's too late: "What's done cannot be undone."
IL: This might sound cheesy, but I think Macbeth's biggest weakness is his love for his wife. And also his lack of conviction in standing up for what he believes is right, in order to not disappoint her or lose her love. But this is also his strength: his love for her gives him the courage and the will to go through with the most difficult actions. I don't think that's as much a comment on Lady Macbeth as it is a comment on Macbeth's insecurities; his fear of being alone, which is how he ends the play: a poor player alone on a stage. I've been trying to treat this play like a love story, and I find that reveals a lot of humanity within all of the terrible crimes being done.
Q: Just for fun, what are your three top things to do in your downtime around Stratford?
KP: (1) To walk along the Avon River at sunset. (2) Going to see amazing plays. (3) Heading to the Red Rabbit restaurant with friends and family for lovely meals and good company.
IL: Downtime? What's downtime? Kidding. I take a lot of walks around the lake, and usually end up on the back patio at Revel Caffè. Or driving out to Lake Huron for a day at the lake.
Production support is generously provided by Jane Petersen Burfield & family, by Barbara & John Schubert, by the Tremain family and by Chip & Barbara Vallis.
Support for the 2016 season of the Festival Theatre is generously provided by Claire & Daniel Bernstein