Popovich Recreating Henry Ford Drama In Ann Arbor

Richard Marsh/Press and Guide/Feb 18,1993

For those of you who missed Henry Ford Community College’s production of “Macbeth” in fall 1991, you have another chance to see a George Popovich version of “Macbeth” done Antonin Artaud style. Popovich and many of the original cast members and technical people are recreating the show for Ann Arbor Civic Theatre (AACT) next month.

A different script is being used, but the presentation will again be based on the principles of theatre artist Antonin Artaud. The idea is to assault the audience’s senses so audience members not only see the action, but feel what the characters are going through. The audience is surrounded by the play’s action, and thereby placed virtually in the middle of the play. Artaud’s concept is to also change the moral consciousness of the audience.

The show is not designed to be a person’s first experience with “Macbeth.” When staged at Henry Ford, much of the dialogue was replaced or drowned out by the special effects. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale will be even more distant from the standard way the show is usually presented.

Popovich, Director of Theatre at Henry Ford Community College, is attempting to keep the same set-up as at HFCC (scaffolding, etc.), but he is streamlining everything to create even more of an impact. A lot of changes are being made from the first staging based on differences between Henry Ford’s and AACT’s facilities and on what was learned during the run at HFCC.

Original music for the show is being created by the band GLOD, a Detroit-based group. The score will be played through the sound system.

How did the show end up in Ann Arbor?

“I had submitted my application to direct a show there,” Popovich explained. “They called me, and I suggested this version of ‘Macbeth’ as a show. They said OK.”

This version of “Macbeth” has all of the action transpiring in 12 minutes. The audience will then be taken back to the beginning and see the action again, only this time with more detail.

“No one will see the same show,” Popovich predicted. “What you see will depend on where you sit. The angles will be different for everyone. The action should be more intimate and intense here than it was at Henry Ford.”

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