Earlier this evening, I went to see a production of Macbeth in Brooklyn at The Old Stone House, done by Dzieci Theatre, a company of Gypsies. (Incidentally, I had been under the impression that “Gypsy” was an inappropriate term and “Roma” was proper. As this company advertises itself as a Gypsy company, I asked one of the people there about it. She said, “Gypsy, Roma, call us whatever. We’re family is what we are.” I thought that was kind of wonderful.)

It was not just a play but an event, as it opened with a party, where I got my fortune told, participated in a healing ceremony and got free wine. Then came the very unique performance. It was hardly what one usually expects at theatre nowadays. It was done by only three actors, all of whom knew the entire play and rotated parts. No role was played by any one actor. Rather a garment (like a scarf or hat) represented a character. More importantly, who would play each part was improvised, and thus, every performance is different.

But while it wasn’t classical or as expected, it was so raw and human. The actors handled their body in a way that was both graceful and jittery, but so basic. Everything was from the gut, also because it was so fast-paced. The script was edited to cut the performance down to about 90 minutes.

Here’s how the website describes it, and quite accurately:

For Dzieci’s chamber version of Macbeth, the ensemble has learned all the lines, of every part, through a process of oral transmission, so as to create maximum improvisational possibilities. In performance, we do not know who will be playing any given role at any given time. As presented by a traveling family of Gypsies, the one-act presentation creates the impression of a ritual or ceremony. A very dark ceremony.

Employing haunting folk songs and chants from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, Theatre Group Dzieci explores (and explodes), the very essence of theatre and storytelling in their exuberant rendition of Shakespeare’s classic.

While there are only two scheduled performances remaining, this is apparently a play that the company has done on and off for many years, and will actually do in your own living room if you hire them for it! Keep up with them. I’ll definitely see more of their plays.