When reading questions found on an audition form, “Are you a feminist?” might seem a little out of the blue to most. But to Katie Mortemore, the question seemed necessary to ask for her senior project. She needed someone that was able to balance both the “masculine” and the “feminine” in their roles, while being able to come across as strong and versatile yet at the same time, gentle and loving.
Mortemore, a theatre major at Pacific, decided to direct an act in an abridged version of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” for her senior project. Not wanting repeat her experiences with a one-person show, Mortemore brought aboard junior Quinn Ramsay to perform with her. Both cast members frequently switched personas in order to encompass the wide array of characters found in the tragedy.
Subsequent to encountering a few problems with previous ideas, Mortemore came to choose “Macbeth,” a play very close to her heart. After all, she has prior experience in Shakespearean acting and the language involved, so the choice seemed natural.
But there were many obstacles to be overcome in the process of fitting “Macbeth” to her needs. In addition to shortening the play for sake of brevity, she also had to work around scenes that seemed to require more than two actors onstage at once, such as the scene where Macbeth converses with three witches.
She also enlisted the help of Ted Gold for lighting as well as Jessica Hamlet for choreography, particularly that of the sword fighting scene. Because she wanted the focus to be on the text, costumes were minimal, with the two actors switching out minor dressing implements such as a skirt or an eye patch to signify different characters.
Throughout the course of putting on the show, Mortemore says she gained valuable experience and better insight on her strengths and weaknesses in the theatre.
Mortemore will again be seen on stage in the show “Dangerous Liaisons,” which opens at the Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro on May 11.