Production of Macbeth features TCU provost

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The TCU theatre department spent a lot of time preparing for its production of a famous witches scene on Halloween, but the protagonist didn’t have to do much more than put on his kilt.

Theatre students partnered with Provost Nowell Donovan to put on the annual production of the scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the ninth consecutive year. Performers presented the short scene at FrogHenge Friday night.

Lydia Mackey, the scene’s director and adjunct professor of performance in the theater department, said Donovan is a “great addition” to the production.

“He’s a lot of fun, he’s up for anything,” Mackey said. “He loves to come to rehearsal and be part of the process. All of the students love him, and we really appreciate him being a part of this.”

Since Donovan is from Scotland, he has a personal connection to Shakespeare’s play and the character of Macbeth.

“[Macbeth is] a Scottish king,” Donovan said. “But Macbeth himself was actually a pretty good king; he wasn’t anything like Shakespeare made him out to be.”

The theatre department has been doing this production for 10 years, but Donovan wasn’t involved the first year. After that, he didn’t have much of a choice.

“The first year, I just put up the stone circle and the theater department said ‘Look, let’s do something fun with it,’” Donovan said. “They came up with the idea of this famous witches scene from Macbeth, and the second year they wouldn’t do it unless I played Macbeth. They sort’ve ordered me to do it and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Mackey has been overseeing the production for four years.

“She’s really into it, so every year she comes up with something different,” Donovan said.

This year’s production featured an extensive sound and lighting setup and more than the traditional number of witches.

“We got five witches this year instead of three, which is normal in the Shakespearian text,” said Mackey. “I had so many great actresses come out, I thought I wanted to expand that.”

The performance provided students an alternative option to typical Halloween festivities.

“Halloween night at TCU is usually one filled with parties and stuff,” said Parker Smith, senior entrepreneurial management major. “But [this was] something very cultural and meaningful.”

Mackey said she is “sure” the scene will be back next year. But Donovan’s role may not change too much.

“I just put my kilt on,” Donovan said. “And finally, I think I know my lines.”