Celebrated performer Alan Cumming is currently starring in a one-man version of "Macbeth" at the Lincoln Center Festival. NY1’s Frank DiLella filed the following report.
Alan Cumming is a theater and film chameleon known for his exceptional versatility. Think the Emcee in "Cabaret" versus Eli Gold on "The Good Wife."
Now, the Tony award-winning stage vet is going back to his Scottish roots and taking on William Shakespeare’s "Macbeth." But he's not just playing the title character. He's actually performing every role in this new production.
“This is by far the most difficult, challenging thing I've ever done in my life,” Cumming says.
Presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, this reimagined one-man version of "Macbeth" is set in a psychiatric ward. Cumming says the Bard's tragedy lends itself to a world of madness.
“We have someone come into this hospital. He’s obviously been traumatized. He has something that has happened to him and then he starts to perform the play for whatever reason for him, that it is cathartic or it's his psychotic episode,” Cumming says.
As for his preparation, Cumming says he gains strength in water.
“I have a swimmer's body now because of ‘Macbeth’ because I would go, I would learn lines and then the next day I would swim before rehearsals. It's quite a good way to speak your lines without having to do it in public and people think you're a crazy person,” Cumming says.
Fresh from his Tony win for the musical "Once," John Tiffany is at the helm of "Macbeth” alongside co-director Andrew Goldberg. Both men say they're constantly in awe of Cumming, a true king of his craft.
“One person, you know, reading off almost two hours of Shakespeare, word perfect, and committing emotionally, physically and dramatically to this is actually, it overwhelms me really what he pulls off,” Tiffany says.
Cumming's interpretation of the Scottish play will be shown at the Rose Theatre through July 14. For more information log on to www.lincolncenterfestival.org.