When Eugene Ionesco adapted Shakespeare's Macbeth into Macbett, it is a very good bet that the French absurdist did not truncate the play to 90 minutes, use bursts of electronic music, or intend references to both swords and taped machine-gun fire. The work, as directed by Neno Pervan, has an unbearably slow pacing, even at its shortened length. As Macbett, Zoran Radanovich attempts the intensity of the work, as do others, by the occasional bellowing of text. Pervan, who unwisely tried to helm this endeavor as well as play Duncan, goes for the comical in his depiction of a cowardly king: smirking, eyes wide open, wearing a long, electric-green psychedelic zoot suit. But this is not Ubu Roi, and Pervan and Radanovich are encumbered by strong Slavic accents and a lack of diction.
In this version, translated by Charles Marowitz, there are two witches instead of three, and the young, obviously inexperienced actors who play them in Goth makeup seem better suited to a Hollywood nightclub than to the stage. Pervan does not use lighting or costuming to suggest ghostly visages, and, when the witches appear, Macbett and Banco (Julius Noflin)—formerly Banquo—look around, baffled, while the Goth witches crawl about their feet as if cavorting in a Shakespearean-flavored rock video.
By agonizingly slowing the action, indulging in stage business, and relying on the slitting of throats over and over in one particular sequence, the director has enervated his own darkly comedic ideas, not to mention the intentions of the Bard and Ionesco, the master of the absurd.
"Macbett," presented by Il Dolce Theatre Company at the Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Dark Thu. Nov. 25. Also at 2 p.m. Sun. Dec. 12. Nov. 12-Dec. 12. $18-20. (310) 458-3312.