|Aaron Posner, left and Teller|
Not much to go on. Which is why plays have a director or, in the case of the upcoming production of “Macbeth” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, two directors: Aaron Posner and Teller, the silent half of the popular Penn & Teller magical duo.
“We’re going to take it from toward the end of the fight,” said Posner, during a rehearsal last week.
No need for a spoiler alert with Shakespeare. But the directors asked that I not reveal any surprises, of which there are many. So let’s just say Macbeth, having left a trail of butchery and betrayal at the goading of his ambitious wife, is about to get his due.
“You’re now completely surrounded by all these people,” Teller said to Ian Merrill Peakes, who plays Macbeth. “And that’s when we go to the blackout.”
If your reaction to the above is “He speaks?” you’re not alone. Everyone I mentioned meeting Teller said the exact same thing, even though that’s like wondering how NBA star Chris Paul gets along with his insurance selling brother, Cliff. It’s an act, one he’ll happily expound upon.
“I think people really enjoy the idea of somebody living his life without talking,” Teller said. “That’s a really cool thing to think about. Because, when you take away talk, there’s so much you add. My experience as a performer on stage is that when you don’t talk there’s a tremendous intimacy with the audience. I think people enjoy that idea and like playing with it. People who talk to me will later say, ‘Oh yeah, he never talks.’ It’s not stupidity, it’s conspiracy; they’re conspiring with me and I’m conspiring with them to help make that idea come to life. We think there so much power in speech, but theres so much power in stillness.”