Tomorrow and tomorrow Macbeth comes to the Sacred Heart Stage


The Sacred Heart Greenwich drama department has ambitiously produced its first Shakespearean play, Macbeth. Students have dedicated hours after school since September under the guidance of Upper School Drama Teacher Miss Michaela Gorman ’05 to perfect their version of the Bard’s tragedy. They have incorporated new skills such as stage combat to enhance their show, and the new upgrades in the Lennie and John de Csepel Theatre shed a unique light on the production. Performances are Friday, November 16 at 7 pm and Saturday, November 17 also at 7 pm.

The three witches, Katie O’Shea ’21, Caroline Baranello ’20, and Zada Brown ’20, surround Macbeth, Emma DeMartino ’19, and Banquo, Lorraine Rinaldi ’19.
Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

The play focuses on the life of a Scottish general Macbeth and his journey as he ascends the throne of Scotland then falls due to his misdeeds. Sophomore Katie O’Shea and juniors Zada Brown and Caroline Barnello play the trio of witches who prophesize that Macbeth will one day become King of Scotland. Senior Emma DeMartino portrays the ill-fated thane. With the urging of Senior Isabel Davenport’s character Lady Macbeth, his wife, coupled with his own ambition he murders King Duncan, portrayed by senior Erin Quigley. He then takes the Scottish throne for himself.  Wracked with guilt and paranoia, Macbeth struggles to hold onto his crown as suspicion and rebellion rise throughout his kingdom.
Miss Gorman was drawn to this play because of its compelling storyline, but also because she wrote her graduate thesis on the presentation of the witches in various productions of Macbeth.  In addition, she believes that the difficult language and rich substance of the play will give the students in the theatre program valuable acting experience.

Macbeth is actually my favorite play,” Miss Gorman said. “I have been hoping we would have the opportunity to stage this show at some point because I think it is so compelling in terms of its character development, its language, and its content. This is our first Shakespeare production, and I wanted us to take on a full-scale, classic tragedy.”

The technological upgrades in the theatre helped the drama department further enhance this production. The LED lighting instruments make it easier to alter colors projected on the stage. In addition, the new cyclorama, a curtain made of a special reflective material, will help engross the audience in the story of Macbeth.

Emma DeMartino ’19 and Lorraine Rinaldi ’19 performing a dialogue.
Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

“[The upgrades] mean that I will be able to design the lighting for the production myself so that I can have much more control over the visual look of the show,” Miss Gorman said.  “We will also be utilizing the new cyclorama, which will help to create a more immersive stage picture. This new and improved technology really impacts the environment of our theatre, even in rehearsals. I think that everyone approached this production with renewed energy and appreciation after seeing the opportunities that this space will provide.”

In addition to the new lighting, the cast is expanding their acting experience through the multiple scenes within Macbeth that contain stage combat. Miss Gorman knew that this would be something unfamiliar to the girls in the production. So, in order to prepare for this, she took a special stage combat course over the summer. 

“One challenge has been working on fight choreography with stage combat swords,” Miss Gorman said. “This was brand new to almost everyone on the production, but the cast has, as always, risen to the occasion with both determination and enthusiasm.”

The language of Shakespeare added another layer of difficulty to the production. Memorization of the lines proved to be a hurdle that the cast needed to o’er leap.

“One challenge with this production was memorizing and understanding the lines,” Isabel said. “Shakespearean English is so different to the English we speak today, so I found it a little bit challenging to get used to when acting.”

Michaela Pond ’20 watching as Isabel Davenport ’19 rehearses Lady Macbeth’s “Out Damned Spot” monologue.
Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

Sacred Heart sophomores study the play and its complex language during their English Literature course. This exposure to Macbeth gave Emma an edge when performing the play

“Reading Macbeth in my sophomore year has definitely helped me with my character development and understanding of the play as a whole,” Emma said. “In sophomore year, we had the opportunity to have in-depth discussions about the text and analyze its themes. [This] provided me with a sound foundation in terms of understanding the underlying themes and meanings, therefore helping me with my character development.” 

Miss Gorman believes seeing the play performed will help students who have previously read the work better appreciate it.

“Seeing Shakespeare live is always incredibly helpful in terms of understanding and engaging with his work,” Miss Gorman said. “I feel like this is a great opportunity to bring Shakespeare to our community in a new way, and I am so humbled by the response I have gotten from students and faculty who are excited about this show.”  

Featured Image by Shantel Guzman ‘19