Macbeth as a conspiracy theory to open at the Rock Garden August 13th, runs for three weeks

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2018



Macbeth, that classic Shakespearean play, will be performed at the Royal Botanical Gardens Rock Garden on Plains Road between August 13th to 17th; August 20th to 24th and August 27th to 31st. There are no Saturday or Sunday performances.

Director Trevor Copp explains that Macbeth is the shortest in the Shakespeare canon and that his interpretation of the play will run about an hour and 45 minutes with an intermission.

Midsummer - cast and audience

The Rock Garden setting is superb, the seating is comfortable and the sight lines are great.

When the weather works, and it does work much of the time, the Rock Garden is about as nice a location you are going to get for an outdoor performance.

Copp has brought back several of his regulars. Mike Hannigan, Alma Sarai, Claudia Spadafora, Zack Parsons are part of the eight member cast.

Copp re-imagines the classic story of fate and vengeance  as a conspiracy story thriller. Macbeth’s pact with unseen forces to become a tyrant King unfolds with consequences beyond his darkest imaginings. This highly physical interpretation is performed outdoors.


Kaylyn Valdez-Scott in rehearsal as Lady Macbeth

It dramatizes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. Of all the plays that Shakespeare wrote during the reign of James I, who was patron of Shakespeare’s acting company, Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright’s relationship with his sovereign; it is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy.

Mike Hammigan

Mike Hannigan

A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland.

Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler.

The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death.

Don’t expect to see any of the cast in 17th century costumes. This is a modern setting that at one point includes the use of a drone – perfectly safe.


Stage manager Jessica Keenan

Stage Manager Jessica Keenan, gets the cast through each rehearsal with her hands on a well worked copy of the script that is covered with coloured Post-It notes.

Copp has taken a brave approach to summer theatre. The cast is in week 17 of their rehearsals on the McMaster campus where the cast works with Director Copp to make changes in the way the play is performed.

The cast members teach each other and suggest different ways to block a scene.

This, the third Shakespeare production Copp has done at the Rock Garden.  The events have given the Rock Garden a new focus during August of each year.

Tickets are available online at:

Alma and Trevor

Trevor Copp takes Alma Sarai through a scene of Macbeth during rehearsals.

Copp is also a former Latin/Ballroom Dance competitor and current coach to Canada’s 2 sets of World Amateur Salsa Champions. He co-invented a gender neutral form of partner dancing whose talk has garnered 500,000 views/international speaking engagements. He went from streetbuskering to professional Mime, creating/touring his solo physical show ‘Searching for Marceau’. He has taught/coached physical Theatre for The Shaw Festival, CanStage/Studio 180, Theatre Beyond Words, Pat the Dog Playwright Centre, Zacada Circus, The Iberoamerican Festival in Bogota, and the University Theatre Departments of Guelph, Waterloo, Niagara, Brock and McMaster.

Macbeth logoCopp has been recognized with the Burlington Artist of the Year, the Ontario Presenters Artist of the Year, and a Chalmer’s Fellowship Awards. His work has been featured in the Canadian Theatre Review,, CBC Television, and the Dance Current.

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