A must see production in an election season that often feels like a real-life Halloween horror show.

With this modern-dress version of “Macbeth,” Theatre Y reconfirms its status as one of the city’s most adventurous troupes and a conduit to the European performance scene.

When the ravens are cawing, the drums are beating and the night seems all-engulfing, the production achieves an arresting and almost hallucinatory intensity, combining movement, music and Shakespeare’s heightened language to return to theater’s archaic, ritualistic roots.”
— Hugh Iglarsh -- Newcity Stage


October 20-Dec 4, 2016 at the Chopin Theatre

   Thursdays - Saturdays @ 7:30pm    /     Sundays @ 4:00pm    

"In this time of very fragile moment in the USA...I propose in the city of Chicago  to share an underground nightmare.  The [U.S.] election is a time where we can [approach] a lot of themes", explains French director Georges Bigot. "Manipulation, Power, Truth, Lie, Shadow, Light...and also Fear. It is the reason why I propose to Theatre Y to create an ensemble and to work on this tragedy of MACBETH; a tragedy where each word is a painting. It is a monument of art...to our basic fears and terrors. It is very important to share...and to talk about all this fear."
"It is a food...a kind of agriculture for the soul”
Georges Bigot -- Director


"This production of Macbeth is the fruit of a laboratory that began a year ago and which is still ongoing. I wanted to import the spirit of an ensemble that would “do theatre in the Public Service," a spirit I first encountered at the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, but which I recognized instantly in the artists I was able to gather at Theatre Y. Macbeth is a chance to forge this group with actors at all levels who share the desire to make an ensemble -- and for the audience to add its own strength to the mix. In the process of creation, and in the hopes of avoiding the traps of a conventional production, we come back incessantly to the reality of who we are. This is our strength. When we produce Macbeth we take up a challenge that sixteen generations of actors and audiences have set for themselves: we strive to bring the Thane to our world and ourselves to his. To succeed we must confront our ancestral legacy of basic fears, fears which are incessantly manipulated and intensified by people in power: the fear of death, the fear of the unknown, and the fear of night. Humanity will never exhaust the monument that is Macbeth; nightmares will remain for ages to come. But our particular nightmare clears the air -- and links us to a multi-generational undertaking. Macbeth will continue long after we’re gone, but having been part of it, having tasted this particular Scotland; we’re less traumatized by this fear of death."
--Georges Bigot
Bigot brings to these topical concerns a visceral power by giving us a vibrant modern-day dress production of the Scottish Play in which politics, language and sex go hand in hand. Powerful women loom large in this world where fragile masculinity is under constant threat from empowered femininity, personified by the Witches and Lady Macbeth. The epitome of the feminine control of language in the play, Lady Macbeth (Katie Stimpson) is a tall, powerful femme fatale.
— Alfred Thomas -- Shakespeare 400 City Desk
The troupe rehearsed the play for a year, trading parts for most of that period. The result is a tight, flowing ensemble in which actors freely double as musicians, using a variety of percussion instruments to create a creepily effective background soundscape, designed by KG Price. In other scenes the cast turns into a kind of mechanical chorus line, depicting the forced normality of protocol masking the subsurface violence and terror.
— Hugh Iglarsh -- Newcity Stage
Brendan Mulhern and Katie Stimpson are both riveting as the murderous Scottish power couple
— Hugh Iglarsh -- Newcity Stage
Mulhern/Macbeth veers violently between a carefree hedonist and an anguished victim of his own nightmares. I have never seen a more convincing portrayal of power unraveling before our very eyes, the nightmare that lurks below the smiling brittle facade of the homo politicus.
— Alfred Thomas -- Shakespeare 400 City Desk
Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’th’time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,
“Here may you see the tyrant” (5.8. 23-27).
Mr. Bigot’s prodigious experience as an actor in the French theatre makes for a tightly controlled, cohesive production. He has harnessed the creative energy of these young Chicago actors and transformed what might so easily have been an uneven set of performances into a disciplined ensemble cohesion. Enhanced by witty musical interludes and the creative use of chiaroscuro lighting and dramatic sound effects, this vibrant new production of Macbeth highlights the play’s inexorable downward spiral from military triumph to political ruin, from the dream of worldly success to the nightmarish reality of tyranny in which lies have usurped truth and equivocation seems to be the only means of survival.
— Alfred Thomas -- Shakespeare 400 City Desk

Photo Credit:  Devron Enarson - Dev Photography


An iconic figure to Ariane Mnouchkine’s Theatre du Soleil and one of France’s most lauded contemporary actors, Bigot brings his lifelong experience and hallmark style of highly physical ensemble work to direct MACBETH, featured as part of the Chicago Shakespeare 400 International Arts Festival.

Georges Bigot is like “mask in human form that, when turned towards an audience, hits you like a punch in the stomach”.  - Olivier Berardi

It is Bigot's' vision, and Theatre Y's hope, that, through an intimate staging of MACBETH, we can better understand our modern world, our politics, ourselves, and our interconnectedness.  "For me, art and theatre belong to everybody. "


The work began last fall:

2015 Intensives with Georges Bigot

Georges Bigot has access to methods of production and rehearsal which are unique to the Theatre du Soleil, one of the foremost acting ensembles on the planet.  In a landscape split by "either/or"s -- Bigot represents the possibility of "both/and." The Theatre du Soleil is both elitist and popular, both physical and verbal, both musical and literary, both traditional and modern.  Combining globe-circling eclecticism with a profoundly local sensibility, the company was recognized as a French national treasure even as it borrowed styles and techniques from Japan, India, Cambodia and ancient Greece.  His direction of a year-long project with an American company will call into question all of the habitual assumptions of American theatrical production -- including its economic assumptions. 

As at the Theatre du Soleil, the play will be chosen to complement the talents assembled in a three week Theatre Y workshop this fall.  Georges will return in May for another four weeks of rehearsal, followed by six more weeks in September, and the show is set to open in October of 2016. 



Images of Georges Bigot playing Richard II,

directed by Ariane Mnouchkine 

at the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris.