Making a Mystery: Quattro Gatti Draws on Shakespeareʼs Macbeth to Create the Ultimate True Crime Progam.
On Saturday, June 15th at 4 am, Quattro Gattiʼs company members were all gathered at a row house on Capitol Hill hashing out the finer points of Macbethʼs banquet scene. The international cast convened from Los Angeles, New York, and Baltimore for a rehearsal of their latest play, Dateline: Macbeth. Inspired by that most classic of thrillers-the Scottish play-the Brooklyn based Quattro Gatti have made it their mission to tell the tale through the lens of the modern thriller genre: the true crime TV mystery.
What makes a Thriller? What are the building blocks of this timeless genre that has fascinated, frightened and titillated us from the first to last syllable of recorded time? Are murderers born different? Or is it a more subtle shift, with all of us primed and teetering on the edge, waiting for that one wrong turn to propel us onto a path of madness and violence?
Framed as an episode of NBCʼs Dateline, Dateline: Macbeth brings us the story of Michael, a faded Hollywood actor, and his erstwhile-actress wife Kate. Following a string of professional setbacks and a heart-breaking personal loss, the couple comes to Hawaii so that Michael can resuscitate his career by playing the lead role in a local production of Macbeth. This move could be exactly what this former golden couple needs to get back on track. But dark forces are at play, and soon the action in the wings starts mirroring Shakespeareʼs bloody story.
Andy Hopper, the writer-director: “We came up with the idea during a company retreat in Hawaii about a year and a half ago. We spent about a week doing timed writings and riffing on characters and elements weʼd like to see in a thriller. The great thing about the timed writings exercise is they force each writer to rely on their instincts and tap into their subconscious. Weird stuff comes up. And the stranger the better. Normalizing is easy. But weʼre trying to take risks and make the material as personal as we can while hopefully maintaining something universal and entertaining.”
In a wrestling match between reality and perception, darkness and light, Dateline: Macbeth highlights the absurdity of this very human predicament by infusing the story with tongue-in-cheek humor, presenting a black comedy that will make audiences laugh as their skin crawls. With a particular interest in mixing sound, visual, and live action to create an atmosphere and story, Dateline: Macbeth experiments with playing on the senses, and leading the audience to question their reactions as the play progresses. Is it appropriate to laugh at murder? Where should your loyalties lie when your hero is also a villain? Should you believe what you see, what you hear?
Dateline and Macbeth seemed like a perfect match. Josh Mankiewicz, the debonair host of the hit NBC show agrees. “@DatelineMacbeth This is a great idea. Anxious to see act 1, scene 1.”
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