"Macbeth Mondays" This Way Come

For a while there, it looked as if Birnam Wood would not come to Southmoreland Park, toil and trouble would not bubble in view of the Nelson-Atkins’ shuttlecocks, and cries of “Out, damned spot!” would not sound across midtown Kansas City.

But thanks to a tempest of support from the community, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival was able to raise needed funds, and this year’s production of Macbeth will run from June 14 through July 3. It was just over a month ago that the Festival’s organizers announced they would need to raise $100,000 to keep the 19th season afloat. Luckily, the ducats came rolling in, and the show will go on.

That’s good news for the Kansas City Public Library, too. Not only are we fans of the Festival – which always brings veteran actors to top-notch productions of the Bard’s works – we’re also proud to host an annual Shakespeare lecture series that’s free and open to the community. In its 11th year, the series brings extra context and insight to the plays staged in the heart of our city.

Macbeth Mondays [And One Tuesday] begins on Tuesday, June 7, with Festival Dramaturge Dr. Thomas Canfield talking about “Macbeth in the Arts.” The series continues on Mondays in June at 1:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch (4801 Main St.). All presentations are free and open to the public.

The speakers at Macbeth Mondays consist of UMKC instructors and theater professionals intimately involved in the Festival. In fact, local Shakespeare fans will have the chance to visit with the Festival’s own Producing Artistic Director Sidonie Garrett when she discusses “Issues of Gender in Macbeth” on June 20.

“The Festival is one of Kansas City’s jewels, and these lectures let people who are attending the Festival appreciate it even more,” says Ardy Pearson, who organizes the series each year on behalf of UMKC’s SPARK, an outreach program for seniors.

Young and old alike will enjoy this year’s series, which also includes a presentation by Dr. Laurie Ellinghausen on “Violence, Treason, and Equivocation,” on June 13, and concludes with a visit from the Fest’s costume and set designers to discuss “Kilts and the Stone of Scone,” on June 27.

So, as Lady Macbeth would say, “screw your courage to the sticking place,” and get down to the Plaza Branch for a series of discussions that will be more than just sound and fury.

-- Jason Harper