“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,” Yankton High School (YHS) presents this year’s one-act play: the Shakespearean tragedy, “Macbeth” with local performances double.

Shows are set for Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. at the YHS main theater and Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. during the YHS Evening of the Arts.

Yankton will also perform its version of “Macbeth” at the 2020 State One-Act Play Festival at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls on Friday, Feb 7, at 8 a.m. Over 50 schools are expected to participate at that weekend event.

The play’s director, Keith Goeden of YHS, cut William Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece down so it could be performed as a one-act.

“I chopped it down to 40 minutes,” Goeden said. “So instead of your usual 2½  hours, it’s 40 minutes of concentrated murder, deceit, mayhem.”

So, will the actors speak in the traditional Shakespearean iambic pentameter?

“Not really,” he said. “I don’t want it to necessarily sound like Shakespeare. To me, it’s the story that’s important, and his stories are awesome. I make the language serve me as opposed to serving the language.”

Considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, “Macbeth” is the story of a nobleman who kills his king and takes the throne with his faithful wife and accomplice, Lady Macbeth.

“They shoot for taking over the kingdom themselves, and they overshoot their mark,” Goeden said. “They make a choice to commit this murder and then they have to pay for it. It’s like, you think you want something, and when you really get it, it’s not what you really want.”

That is the essence of the play, and in the end, they get their just desserts, he said.

In order to simplify the play into a one-act, Goeden decided to include a chorus or ensemble, which was not part of the original version.

“This definitely has a Goeden twist,” he said. “The chorus, they play all the parts but Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. The chorus is on stage the whole time, and the witches aren’t just three women; they’re basically the whole cast.”

The students do an excellent job playing these evil spirits, Goeden said.

“And of course, I love stuff dealing with witchery and sorcerers,” he said, adding that having a chorus allows him to have a cast of 25 rather than the 10 or so characters in the original play.

The cast was assembled last May and has been rehearsing regularly since then, Goeden said.

“I think our sword fighting is really pretty excellent,” he said. “Most of the time, when you see stage combat, it isn’t very good. We’ve been working on this since the summer.”

Since December, there have been frequent fighting workshops after school, he said.

Those familiar with the original play will notice some plot twists in this version. Events that are only hinted at in the original script are followed up on and presented in this one-act version, Goeden said, with a few surprises along the way.

“I think the audience will find it fun. It’s dark. I haven’t tried to take that away,” Goeden said. “But, it’s not all doom and gloom. I think that they give a very mature portrayal, and I’m very proud of all of them.”

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Cast And Crew

Macbeth — Bailey Nielsen

Lady Macbeth — Claire Kouri

Banquo — Jaden Pearson  

Ensemble — Ryan Trail, Nicholas Taylor, Olivia Hunhoff, Reid Brown, Abby Rothenberger, Elisha Swenson, Grace Taggart, Gabe Grant, Bella Purzol, Logan Smallwood, Cassidy Johnson, Cora Johnson, Nathan Huff, Abby Huff, Hailee Gilbery, Carter Dahl, Sara Carr, Allie Taggart, Tori Weiland, Mataya Holland, Gavin Kafka, Madison Reisner

Crew — Anabelle Taylor, Cecilia Kouri, Ella Smith, Keren Ferino

Director — Keith Goeden, Pam Kallis

Assistant Director — Kiah Holmstrom

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