William Shakespeare’s Macbeth takes a terrifying turn on the Powerhouse Theatre Stage under the direction of Matt Brown May 1 to 11. (Submitted)

Director brings terror of Macbeth back to Vernon

“Something wicked this way comes.”

From the dark mastermind behind the Field of Screams terror, comes a cursed production of historic proportions involving magic, murder and massive sword fights.

Vernon director Matt Brown puts his fierce fingerprint on the William Shakespeare classic Macbeth, showing at Powerhouse Theatre May 1 to 5 and May 8 to 11.

Brown is well known in the arts community, particularly for the thrills and chills he creates annually in the corn mazes at O’Keefe Ranch in October.

See: O’Keefe Ranch Field of Screams scarier than ever

This time, the 40-year-old father of three is pouring his creative, and cryptic, juices into Shakespeare’s tale of 11th-century Scottish politics, intrigue and murder most foul.

“You have a man who becomes power hungry in a very dynamic team with his wife,” said Brown, who first learned how to direct in 1996 under the tutelage of Bev Holmes. “And she is considered by the many to be the driving force behind the whole charade.”

The title character, Macbeth, was a true-hearted, die for his King, die for his country kind of person. But he is also ambitious, as is Lady Macbeth.

“He encounters the three wyrd sisters, otherwise known as the witches, who give him a prophecy,” said Brown. “Is it a prophecy or are they manipulating (which is the segue into the way I’m directing this)?

“They plant enough seeds in his head and tell him he is going to be the new Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king.”

Perplexed by the news, he sends a letter to his wife but is also instantly deep in thought at the power that would come with owning the kingdom of Scotland.

While the plot is riddled with danger, so is the set. The curse of Macbeth is very real, according to Brown, adding that there are varied versions but Vernon has its own.

“The last time the show was done in this theatre someone was stabbed on stage,” said Brown. “So it’s an intimidating play. This whole show is very dangerous.”

Brown has taken every precaution, including bringing in a trained sword master.

“As superstitious as it is, I’m twice as thoughtful about safety.”

See also: Vernon production explores unfulfilled lives

But it is also very fitting for Brown to take on this production.

“I like living on that edge of adrenaline. I was one of those children that had really bad nightmares yet I was still drawn into it.”

Using psychological terror instead of shock terror, Brown is doing something that hasn’t been done before.

“People who know me still should know that they are coming to a show that won’t hold back in trying to scare them.”

It is also an opportunity that Brown was only willing to do at Powerhouse, and has turned down three other paid offers by other companies.

“It’s a testament to the team here because I didn’t believe that my vision could be realized by another company,” said Brown of the all-volunteer cast and crew.

To see the terror for yourself, Macbeth plays nightly at 7:30 p.m. May 1 to 4 and May 8 to 11. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 5.

Tickets are $28 ($26 for the matinee) for adults and $22 for students at www.ticketseller.ca or call 250-549-SHOW (7469).


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