New Paltz presents a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth

NEW PALTZ – The Department of Theatre Arts Mainstage Productions at the State University of New York at New Paltz presents a progressive adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The play, directed by Paul Kassel, associate dean in the School of Fine & Performing Arts, and associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, will be performed Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8, at 8 p.m. and Dec. 2 & 9 at 2 p.m. on campus in McKenna Theatre.

Traditionally, Macbeth is a story about the lust for power, tragedy, prophesy and bloody repercussions. According to Kassel, the New Paltz production will be presented with a modern twist. Kassel said, “Inspired by the Arab Spring, we are setting the play in contemporary times in a Eurasian country embroiled in civil war and foreign occupation. In this world there is evil, that both influences and prompts acts of evil in others. In our world, however, these forces, these witches, are unseen. Evil can appear anywhere, anytime, and the vain, ambitious, the power-hungry are susceptible. As fresh as if written yesterday, our production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth features contemporary dress, women soldiers, and a set that evokes both the Globe Theatre and Tahrir Square. We surround the audience with sights and sounds that evoke modern warfare, while honoring the text of Shakespeare with a talented cast of students.”

Professor Kassel heads the Performance area at the college, teaching all levels of acting, play analysis, and directs plays in the Mainstage season. His book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Allyn & Bacon in April 2006. A professional actor, director, and writer, Kassel has worked off, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and in a number of films, several television shows, and industrials. He has written four original plays and several adaptations, and his scholarly work includes the book, several articles, and many conference presentations on acting and performance theory. Kassel is currently the managing editor for a new journal by and for actors and teachers of acting, The Players’ Journal ( He received his M.F.A. in Performance from the Florida State/Asolo Conservatory of Professional Actor Training, and is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors’ Guild.

Ticket prices for Macbeth are $18 general admission, $16 seniors, SUNY Faculty/Staff, students, $10 SUNY students. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office located in Parker Theatre beginning November 19, call 845-257-3880 or reserve online now at For additional information call 845-257-3936.