While As You Like It, Julius Caesar and Henry V continue to be performed by humans at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, the final in the quartet of plays this summer will see three rogue goblins take over the Howard Family Stage with their own interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth.
Our goblins reveal that to pair tragedy with humour, as Shakespeare intended, is a profoundly human impulse that highlights the horror while allowing us to bear it. – Rebecca Northan
In Goblin:Macbeth, when the trio of goblins come across a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, they are intrigued by a writer who clearly knows his witches, faeries, goblins and monsters. They decide to co-opt a theatre space and cajole an audience into participating in their first attempt at “doing theatre.”
“I have a profound love of words, as well as a background in mask work, improvisation and misbehaviour, so the idea of goblins doing Shakespeare seemed obvious to me,” says director and co-creator Rebecca Northan in a media release.
“To the Goblins, Macbeth is not Shakespeare’s most unsettling and cursed play, [as] they already come from a world where fairies, ghosts, witches and magic are pedestrian,” continues Northan. “Our goblins are able to push past all that phantasmagoria to highlight a humour that is so often glossed over in human productions that favour a macabre atmosphere. Our goblins reveal that to pair tragedy with humour, as Shakespeare intended, is a profoundly human impulse that highlights the horror while allowing us to bear it. I actively discourage you from seeking out the identity of our players. Let the goblins work their magic on you; let the play hit you in new ways.”
The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival presents Goblin:Macbeth from August 19 to September 17 as part of its 34th season in Vancouver’s Vanier Park. Visit bardonthebeach.org for tickets and information.