Hickory – In one of Shakespeare’s most famous and celebrated plays, the brave Scottish warrior Macbeth receives prophecies from three witches foretelling that he will soon rise in rank to eventually become king. Consumed with ambition and a thirst for power Macbeth and his wife take matters into their own hands, abandoning their morals to take a course of action that spins them into chaos, madness, and death. Blood seems to be everywhere as murder, witches, hallucinations, nightmares, ghosts, and spirits drive Macbeth to his inevitable end.
Two actors who haven’t shared the stage in almost seven years, Christy Rhianna Branch and Donovan Harper, are reuniting to play the title roles. Although both are familiar faces on stage at HCT, the pair were last seen together in the 2015 production of THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE.
Branch was last seen as Mom in BY THE BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL SEA, which received the 2022 Kay Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Branch’s past HCT roles include her Kay award-winning portrayals of Valerie THE WEIR (Outstanding Female Lead 2021) and Charlotte in THE REVOLUTIONISTS (Outstanding Supporting Actress 2019). This is also her second time in an HCT world premiere, she had the lead role of Andorra in THE SEAMSTRESS in 2014. She has also been in several productions with Foothills Performing Arts, where one of her favorite roles was Bella in LOST IN YONKERS. This Lees-McRae College graduate has is from Morganton and has lived in the area most of her life. In addition to her work on stage, Branch served as the HCT costumer from 2010 to 2015. “My favorite thing about HCT is the variety of shows each season,” Branch said.
Harper made his directorial debut last season, helming HCT’s production of THE THANKSGIVING PLAY. On stage, this actor/writer from Conover has also had roles as Gary in NOISES OFF, Coalhouse in RAGTIME, James “Thunder” Early in DREAMGIRLS, and Roger in RENT, all at HCT. He has earned awards as Outstanding Character Actor for DREAMGIRLS and Outstanding Supporting Actor in HAIR. “My favorite thing about HCT is the people,” he says. “Wonderful artists doing wonderful shows.” Harper is originally from Washington, D.C. and relocated to the area because his dad’s family is from Lenoir.
Performances of MACBETH are October 14-29, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays, October 16th and 23rd at 2:30 and Thursday, October 27th at 7:30.
The HCT’s 74th season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and Sunbelt Xpress. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. MACBETH is sponsored in part by Rob and Erin Hooks.
PHOTO: Donovan Harper and Christy Rhianna Branch are Lord and Lady Macbeth in MACBETH, on stage at the Hickory Community Theatre. Photo by Eric Seale.