Frome Drama Club's November production, Macbeth, is a tale of prophecy, deception, love and, of course, murder
Macbeth is the story of three witches, a couple who are deeply in love, and the corruption that prophecy and ambition can work havoc on the most honourable of people.
Frome Drama Club's November production of Shakespeare's sinister tragedy sees Calum Grant return to directing for the club, and he is keen to point out that this will not be a historically traditional production.
"I have always loved the change in the character of Macbeth", says Calum. "At the start of the play he is described as a mighty warrior, a man who is highly honoured within the court of King Duncan, and he clearly has a loving relationship with his wife. From this starting point he has to become a murderer – a killer of family, friends and loved ones."
It is the witches in the story that tip Macbeth over the edge, through their prophecies and it is the relationship between both Macbeth and the witches that Calum was keen to emphasise.
"I wanted to make the witches a much larger influence on the world that Macbeth inhabits," he says.
"To do this we have made the witches the servants within Macbeth's household. This allows them to be a constant presence but it also posed the problem of when to set the play.
"It needs to start with a war, but also I wanted a time where the upstairs/downstairs division was still strong; in that way the witches could still move invisibly through the household when disguised as servants."
This led Calum to setting the play in the years directly after the First World War although the opening action begins in the horrors of the trenches with Macbeth earning honour in battle before his prophetic encounter with the witches.
He returns a hero to a fictional Scotland in which Duncan is still King and where Macbeth and Lady Macbeth can begin to plot their ascent to the throne.
Playing Macbeth is newcomer to the club, Andrew Morrison, who appeared recently as Benedick in the Bradfordian's production of Much Ado About Nothing. Andrew is joined by Ellen Kirkman, another newcomer to the club though not to Frome audiences, who plays Lady Macbeth, whilst our trio of witches are played by Frome Drama Club favourites Alan Burgess, Aynsley Minty and Kara Horler. Calum's final words are on his three weird sisters: "Some people might be surprised that we have two male witches and one female one.
"However, I wanted three people who would make a real contrast on stage. Each actor brings something unique to their particular brand of evil and I truly believe that our witches are really disturbing creations in their own way. I can't wait for the rest of Frome to get a chance to see what I am enjoying in every rehearsal, which is a fantastic ensemble cast!"
Macbeth is at Frome's Merlin Theatre from November 22 to November 24. For tickets call 01373 465949.