By Ed Karvoski Jr, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – It was decided three years ago when the Ghost Light Players (GLP) was founded that the theater group would annually present a Shakespearean play, open to the public and free of charge. The price of admission is a nonperishable food item to be donated to the Marlborough Community Cupboard.
“Macbeth” will be staged at the First Church of Marlborough for five performances: Friday, Oct. 24; Saturday, Oct. 25; and Saturday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m.; as well as 2 p.m. matinees Sundays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Once again directing its third Shakespearean play is Kat Alix-Gaudreau, GLP’s executive director.
“Shakespeare can be a little daunting to someone who has never seen it before,” she noted. “We tried to remove a barrier by making it free so that they’re more likely to give it a try.”
A 501(c)(3) charity organization itself, GLP understands the importance of support among community nonprofits.
“We decided this would be a good opportunity to collect goods for another charitable organization that’s located in Marlborough,” Alix-Gaudreau explained. “The first year, the Community Cupboard estimated that we donated about 500 pounds of food. The second year was 600, so we’re hoping to have 700 this year.”
In September 2012, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was staged outdoors at Union Common. While the GLP’s website thanks everyone for making its “first foray into Shakespeare such a rousing success,” Mother Nature attempted to transform it into an early-autumn nightmare.
“There was a huge storm,” Alix-Gaudreau recalled. “The assistant stage manager and I had to stand onstage and hold set pieces in place.”
Last year, GLP moved inside the nearby church hall for “Much Ado About Nothing,” which Alix-Gaudreau set in 1919 New Orleans.
“I have this wonderful memory of all of the actors coming out onstage, all in Mardi Gras outfits and masks,” she said. “The first time that scene came together was visually stunning and exciting to see how the actors embodied it.”
After directing two Shakespearean comedies for GLP, Alix-Gaudreau is particularly enthusiastic about tackling “Macbeth,” which is widely considered to be one of the playwright’s darkest and most powerful dramas.
“The theater troupe has matured to the point where it can handle this kind of work,” she said. “The actors we’ve got in this show are tremendously talented, dedicated, and they’re really digging into the work. It’s exciting to see the troupe grow into this show.”
Some Marlborough schools have confirmed that groups of students will attend a performance of “Macbeth.” Also, Alix-Gaudreau and the two lead performers will visit St. Mark’s School in Southborough to present scenes and discuss Shakespeare with the students.
“This is the first time we’ve gotten this level of interest from educational groups,” she noted. “That’s exciting for us to get out into the community and talk with potential audience members about Shakespeare.”
The production crew also includes Jacob McDonald, producer; Kim Beauchemin, stage manager; and Ted Eaton, fight coordinator. “Macbeth” is being produced with grants from the Marlborough Cultural Council and the Brigham Family Trust.
In addition to free admission with nonperishable food items, premium seating is available for $15, and $12 for seniors and children. Premium seating is a reserved, cushioned chair in the first three rows and a complimentary concession item.
Whether or not audience members have previously experienced a Shakespearean play, Alix-Gaudreau believes they’ll appreciate this production of “Macbeth,” which is set in modern times.
“The characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are a married couple and they’re very dysfunctional, but they’re very real,” she explained. “It’s very relatable and easy to understand them.”
For premium seating reservations and other information, visit ghostlightplayers.com.