Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Players get ‘Wyrd’ in Macbeth parody

Players get ‘Wyrd’ in Macbeth parody

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Wyrd Sisters is a parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Eliah Lillis

Players get ‘Wyrd’ in Macbeth parody

The Phnom Penh Players theatre troupe is back this Friday with a stage adaptation of Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett’s 1988 parodic reimagining of Macbeth.

The production is a comedy, adapted for the stage by writer Stephen Briggs, which turns Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth on its head. In this version of the classic tale of a murdered king, a treasonous duke and duchess and a kingdom in peril, it’s up to a ragtag coven of witches – Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick – to save the land.

Director Kevan Stuart, a massive fan of the sci-fi writer Pratchett, says Wyrd Sisters seemed fitting as a twisted story around Macbeth, which the Phnom Penh Players is preparing to stage later in the year.

Describing the characters as “fascinating”, he says he especially enjoys the reinterpretation of the witches, who are presented as evil in Macbeth, whereas “[in Wyrd Sisters] the witches are portrayed as evil [by the duke and duchess] but they are not”.

Granny (played by Noreen Crowley) is the most powerful witch in the land, who “tends to regard others as naughty schoolchildren”. Like a strict but well-meaning teacher, she believes that people should be given what they need and not what they want. She has no qualms about “practising psychology on [others] to get them to do what she wants” for the good of the country.

“Granny never lets on when she doesn’t know something. She’s got this cool way of being sure about herself,” Crowley says.

Nanny (played by Alli Bukys) is the good-hearted but self-centred matriarch of her tribe, more “concerned about her next drink and where her next meal is coming” until the world goes to pieces and she whips into action. Magrat (Paula Willis), fresh out of her apprenticeship, is the naïve young one of the three. She has a penchant for the dramatics associated with being a witch, such as gothic style, occult jewellery and banishing demons. With her own set of romantic but impractical ideals of how a witch should be, she is disappointed by the reality of her overly pragmatic fellow witches.

“When Magrat is annoyed, she stamps and flounces off,” Willis says. “[It’s like being] a teenager again without all the other emotional baggage that actually comes with it.”

With a cast of 19 playing 31 characters, Stuart advises theatre-goers to take note of recurring actors who come back as minor characters with one-liners. “Often those lines are the funniest in the entire scene, or the most important,” he says.

“It’s really very funny, if you’ve got a British dry sense of humour.”

Wyrd Sisters will be showing tonight and Saturday at the Department of Performing Arts, Street 173, at 7pm and March 3-4. Tickets cost $10 and are available at Box Office, Showbox, Eleven One Kitchen and Tusk. All proceeds go to OIC Cambodia, an organisation dedicated to speech therapy in Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials