Macbeth, performed at Fort Point

This was my third experience with We Players, an utterly fantastic theater troupe that brings theater to sites in the Bay Area. After missing out on the Hamlet performance on Alcatraz, I joined their mailing list and jumped on tickets to The Odyssey on Angel Island, Twelfth Night at the Hyde Street Pier, and tonight’s Macbeth at Fort Point.
Fort Point is a four story brick fort built in the 1850s that now stands under the shadow of the southern part of the Golden Gate Bridge. After sunset, it’s windy, foggy, and you hear the waves crashing against the pilings. It was the perfect place to stage Macbeth, using the courtyard for scenes to introduce the Weird Sisters and placing Macbeth and Banquo on their path. Like other WP performances, the audience & stage shifted constantly. This was the first time I’d experienced being assigned groups based on mobility options; Crescent group were supposed to move fast, the Diamond group needed more time to navigate the winding staircases of the 160 year old fort. Which is actually an ingenious approach to accommodating a larger group within the fort– they sent us on separate paths a la Choose Your Own Adventure, and were able to act out scenes in front of smaller groups in cozy quarters.
The courtyard was the go-to scene spot, but there were several intimate spaces created within smaller rooms in the fort: Lady Macbeth’s boudoir, MacDuffy’s house interior, the scene of the feast (a long table we grabbed figs, cheese, apples, grapes from), the spot with the dialog between the Prince and MacDuffy. The top story was the scene of the final swordfight that vanquishes Macbeth, and some muted hooting issued from the audience when he finally died.
You’re encouraged to get very close to the action, and I found myself in the path of actor spittle quite frequently, almost hit by daggers after they were dropped after Macbeth commits the murder, nearly slapped when Lady Macbeth hauled off and tried to restore Macbeth to his senses in the feast scene.
An incredibly beautiful visual performance, it still needs a bit of work in terms of auditory– the actors competed with the waves crashing loudly, and if they perchanced to turn their head a bit, their words were inaudible.