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From Scotland to Chapel Hill, ‘something wicked this way comes’

Actors from the National Theatre of Scotland are returning to Chapel Hill again — this time to perform “Dunsinane” at Memorial Hall today and Friday. Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts.

Actors from the National Theatre of Scotland are returning to Chapel Hill again — this time to perform “Dunsinane” at Memorial Hall today and Friday. Courtesy of Carolina Performing Arts.

David Greig’s “Dunsinane,” a play that begins where Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” ends, will make its United States debut tonight and Friday at Memorial Hall with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Between the set, live music and internationally-renowned cast, Carolina Performing Arts Director of Marketing and Communications Mark Nelson is sure the performance will blow people away.

Directed by Roxana Silbert, “Dunsinane” will be the third show the National Theatre of Scotland has performed in Chapel Hill after “Black Watch” in 2011 and “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart” in 2012.

Carolina Performing Art’s Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Aaron Shackelford attributes the decision to make the U.S. premiere in Chapel Hill to both the theater’s long-standing relationship with Chapel Hill and the company’s recognition of CPA’s prestige.

“They know that, with our community audiences and then our student-faculty audiences, we really appreciate and enjoy engaging with really thought-provoking theater like this performance,” Shackelford said.

One of the benefits of having top-notch performances like “Dunsinane” in Chapel Hill is that students can easily see shows they would not have been able to otherwise.

“I mean, you’re not going to pay $10 again in your life to see the National Theatre of Scotland,” Shackelford said.

Mary Floyd-Wilson, the Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor for the Department of English and Comparative Literature, will give a pre-show lecture on both “Macbeth” and “Dunsinane” at the Historic Playmakers Theater on Thursday.

Floyd-Wilson, who teaches Shakespeare courses at UNC and has published on “Macbeth,” said she has never seen “Dunsinane” but, after reading the script, is excited to see the show.

“Anyone who’s taken Shakespeare would be curious about this play because they would have studied ‘Macbeth’ in a Shakespeare survey class,” she said.

Like “Macbeth,” “Dunsinane” features power struggles, battles and the consequences of war. Though set in the 20th century, Shackelford said the themes in the play are relevant to current issues happening worldwide.

“I think people see the play and put themselves into the different characters as it relates to (issues like) occupation and peace-keeping force,” Nelson said. “I think students are so in-tune today with world events that they’ll make those connections.”

Keith Fleming, who plays Macduff, said the performance of “Dunsinane” in Chapel Hill will be particularly interesting because of the variety of student interests and backgrounds.

“I think people can see different things that appeal to them, and not necessarily coming from the dramatic arts point of view,” he said.

Fleming said he and the other actors have very much enjoyed their time in Chapel Hill, and even have a favorite place on Franklin Street.

“Gotta be Linda’s.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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