William Shakespeare will have a decidedly new rhythm in Long Wharf Theatre’s education department production of MacBeat, a new adaptation of Macbeth, done in conjunction with students at High School in the Community.

The production will take place on Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II Thursday, May 19. The performance is free and open to the public. The program is sponsored by the Seedlings Foundation and is part of the Long Wharf Theatre education department’s continued efforts to introduce students to theatre by making it relevant and accessible to their own lives.

Annie DiMartino, director of education, was inspired to adapt Macbeth after seeing HSC teacher Deb Hare’s analyze the play with her classes last year. The play’s explorations of the abuse of power and the impact of one’s actions have resonance with high school readers, DiMartino said.

She is excited to see how Hare’s Shakespeare Acted Out class takes those concepts and makes them their own. “Macbeth is relevant because everyone has choices they can make and every choice has repercussions … The idea of peer pressure exists in the play. In this case, it comes from the witches. So, Macbeth deals with the question of whether one listens to what people say or does one follow their own path,” she said.

The show will combine modern language with Shakespeare’s vernacular to create a wholly unique sound – the rhythms of the Bard’s iambic pentameter mixed with the modern heartbeat of rap and hip-hop. Use of different kinds of percussion, such as brooms, trash cans, drums, ala the musical Stomp, will also help create the aural landscape. “Shakespeare uses music and sound throughout the play,” DiMartino said. “What better way to give the play a contemporary feel than to highlight sound and to have it happen throughout the show.”

For more information, contact Steve Scarpa, director of marketing and communications at 203-772-8255 or via e-mail at steven.scarpa@longwharf.org.