Fullerton College’s production of Macbeth is starting Thursday, May 9th. As one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays, this is one that has gained popularity over time due to it’s darker themes and the shroud of mystery surrounding the play.

Michael Mueller is directing this play for the college. As a full-time faculty member for the theater arts department, an actor, and a fight coordinator, he’s directed many Shakespeare plays in the past. He admits that Macbeth is one of his favorites, but hesitates to say this is his absolute favorite.

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Headshot of director Michael Mueller. Mueller is full time faculty at Fullerton College, as well as an actor, a fight choreographer, and has a discipline in musical theatre. Photo credit: Fullerton College Theatre Department

Mueller is proud of the twists he puts on the play, such as setting it in a dystopian “not so distant” future. This plays into the three titular witches in the beginning of the play’s advantage, as they have been given a sleek and urban hip-hop make over, complete with rap elements, to contrast with the overall Mad Max themes that the play evokes.

“It’s cool, it’s sexy, but it can be dangerous,” Mueller explained. However, he never intends for it to be taken as a political commentary on our current political state,” Mueller stated.

Instead, he wanted the focus to shift over to the relationship between the title character and his wife.

“In other production, the focus is more on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is sort of the catalyst…in our production, we elevate the equality of Lady Macbeth,’ clarified Mueller. “They are The Macbeths rather than a male dominated relationship. These two characters have one of the most supportive relationships in all of Shakespeare…they’re working hard for each other to elevate each other.”

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Posters for Macbeth by the ticket booth on campus. The poster features a split-screen image of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth along with silhouettes of the three witches. Photo credit: Victoria Nicholls

As for taking the original idea of Macbeth and putting this twist on it, Mueller has this to say.

“Shakespeare played to the audience. Shakespeare told stories that were relevant to audience members at the time. I’m a firm believer that his works are meant to be modified and adjusted to suit the demands of the current culture,” Mueller said.

For those who may be both superstitious and curious, Mueller did also speak about the superstition of saying the name “Macbeth” in the theater. He notes that only those who speak the name with no respect and just throw the name around flippantly, those seem to be the ones who feel the wrath of the curse.

“My superstition in my view is something where if you’re respectful…and you’re saying [Macbeth] under the circumstances of the need for it…that’s perfectly okay,” Mueller added.

Fullerton College’s production of Macbeth runs from May 9-11, and again May 16-18. Ticket sale prices are $12.50 pre-sale and $15 at the door. Showtime all days are at 7:30 P.M.. The show lasts about two hours and thirty minutes, with a fifteen minute intermission.

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