Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ reimagined as an opera with baboons

Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ reimagined as an opera with baboons

An opera created by the internationally acclaimed author of the ‘No 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ series, Alexander McCall Smith, and directed by local award winner Nicholas Ellenbogen has finally landed in Cape Town after capturing the imagination of international theatregoers.

‘The Okavango Macbeth’, with music by Tom Cunningham, is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s ‘MacBeth’ story, but set in a troop of baboons in Botswana. It will show at Artscape from March 20 to 30. The production has already proven to be a runaway success in Botswana and Edinburgh and South Africa is the third country it is hoping to conquer.
Smith conjured up the concept while pondering the idea of status to a baboon.
“There are two odd things about baboons; firstly that they’re matrilineal, but even more peculiarly that they’re the only animal we know about in which status is conferred from one generation to the next,” he says. “This struck me as being so unusual that I thought I’d write an opera about it.”

Set in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, the opera deals with the efforts of an ambitious female baboon, Lady Macbeth, to encourage her husband, Macbeth, to murder the dominant baboon, Duncan.
The opera premiered in the No 1 Ladies Opera House, a tiny opera house in Gaborone, and received an ecstatic reception before moving to Edinburgh.
The Cape Town production will be presented at the Artscape Theatre and features a host of local talent, which should ensure that the true African flavor of the opera has been captured.

* Book your tickets through Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-seat on 021 421 7695.