As a longtime horror fan and recent Shakespeare convert, Aurora Villarreal, Theatre Performance major, sees their opportunity to play Lady Macbeth in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Repertory Theatre’s ShakesFear production as a particularly exciting — and unique — acting experience.
“Being able to feel the audience’s energy so close to me is going to be insane,” Villarreal said, chuckling. “It’s so intimate. It’s going to feel so weird having them right there in the room and making them feel scared.”
ShakesFear is an interactive theater performance that sends audience members on a frightful search for Shakespeare’s lost play. The production runs Oct. 13-30 in the Temple Building — transformed by Hixson-Lied students into a Shakespearean haunted house populated with some of the writer’s most iconic, and unnerving, characters.
“People don’t realize that Shakespeare gave birth to so many horror themes that are still around today,” said Villarreal, a senior from Mansfield, Texas. “Shakespeare is able to access darker parts of the mind and give it a voice. It’s frightening to even read, but seeing it performed is even scarier. Horror comes in so many facets, and Shakespeare really shows how crazy humans can be.”
Her newfound love of Shakespeare came during Villarreal’s experience studying at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London last summer with fellow Carson School students. The three-week intensive program at the world-famous theater plunged them and their peers into the playwright’s work.
“We worked with directors at the Globe, learned from their teachers, saw shows, attended rehearsals, and even acted on the stage,” Villarreal said. “It was the best experience of my life.”
Villarreal will be one of two performers taking on the role of Lady Macbeth. Her studies at the Globe helped her appreciate the complexities of the language.
“Sometimes you just feel so much emotion and you don’t have the words to describe it, but Shakespeare does. It’s really cool to be able to relinquish yourself to the language and not have to worry too hard about the ‘acting’ part. It just flows through you.”