Nothing out of the ordinary to see (or hear): Laila Robins is just at home, in her floral print, reciting her grocery list: root of hemlock, finger of birth-strangled babe. Typical potion ingredients for a witch.
Suddenly, Robins is joined by another voice—that of her own—adding a tiger’s chaudron over on the right. And just before the brew boils over, a third, more full-toned Robins cools it down with baboon’s blood from the other side of the room.
Robins (and Robins, and Robins) voices the Weird Sisters in the new audio presentation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, streaming October 30–November 1 as a benefit for The Actors Fund. Rather than watch from a theatre or via Zoom, audiences are instructed to tune in with headphones (ideally by candlelight) to immerse themselves in the surround-sound performance.
Watch the clip above to get a taste of how Robins will sound as the Weird Sisters in the presentation. “To bring these three separate iconic roles to life, we focused on three things,” explains director Joseph Discher. “Experimentation in creating three distinct voices, the fact that they are siblings, and striking a balance between reality and the mysterious quality of the supernatural.”
In addition to being an apt Halloween pick, producer Sean Hudock says presenting this particular play from the Bard felt right: "From raw political ambition to the psychology and infections of madness, the story and the themes of Macbeth speak in so many ways to the state of our nation and the world at large.”
Hudock adds that the experience is, in some ways, even more intimate than a live performance, “just by virtue of how close the sound is to your brain. It creates a unique, cohesive, living, and breathing experience from isolation and still brings audiences into the heart of the story.”
But is it still spooky? “I even scared myself one day listening to one scene,” claims Discher. “While making notes, I had forgotten it was still playing, and one of the witches voices made me jump.”
Macbeth: A Surround Sound Experiment also features Tamara Tunie, Derek Wilson, Joel de la Fuente, Robert Cuccioli, Geoffrey Owens, Jacob Cogman, Rocío Mendez, Tim Nicolai, Mandy Olsen, Shane Taylor, Patrick Toon, Jeorge Bennett Watson, and Hudock. Tickets are available at KnockAtTheGate.com.