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‘I, Banquo’ adds intense spin to Shakespeare’s Scottish play

Incredibly captivating in one live, uninterrupted take is Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “I, Banquo.”

The magnificent actor Dan Waller, making his CST debut, stars as and commands the stage as Banquo, Macbeth’s best friend and fellow back-to-back combatant. Or was he? Macbeth’s tragic, bloody downfall is retold by the friend he murders.

With a head gash and cut throat, Waller begins his troubled soliloquy seated in a padded, aged chair (scenic design by Yu Shibagaki). He is embittered, betrayed, overlooked, and starts with: “Imagine even if it isn’t true, we’re friends.”

The weird bearded sisters are mentioned, making pronouncements from the cauldron – how Banquo is lesser than Macbeth, but also greater, as he is the father of kings. We do briefly see the young Fleance (Patrick Scott McDermott). Because his future is secure, Macbeth’s isn’t, even with the evil machinations of Lady Macbeth.

The dialogue borrows and adapts Shakespeare’s, but there are also nuances.

“This is how it starts, but how does it end?”

Raquel Adorno’s costume design – bloodied hand prints on the back of the distressed jacket and combat boots – fits Waller perfectly, and the lighting design by Jason Lynch, especially for the woods, is very effective.

The 45-minute production written by Tim Crouch and directed by Marti Lyons (one of America’s most sought-after directors) utilized remote operating cameras throughout the set.

“I, Banquo” is a heavy, troubled lesson on friendship, but a great diversion to that Scottish play.

• Regina Belt-Daniels has been involved with theater since the first grade in many capacities from acting to directing, and longs for a return to live theater and live audiences.


WHAT: “I, Banquo” by Chicago Shakespeare Theater

WHEN: Through April 18

COST: $25 or Chicago ShakesSTREAM membership


Source: The Daily Chronicle

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