The Intrepid Interns Take Their Stab at ‘Macbeth’

Andrew Moore, a San Dieguito Academy intern who is playing Young Seward in Intrepid’s current production of ‘Macbeth,’ sits in the green room listening to the first act of the show through the monitor. Unconsciously, he begins to mutter some of the lines being spoken by Sean Yael-Cox onstage. He knows them well, which is fortunate, because on Saturday afternoon he will step onto the same stage where Intrepid performs. However, he will not be wearing Young Seward’s soldier coat. He will be wearing Macbeth’s crown.

Since the inception of its partnership with San Dieguito Academy, Intrepid has offered an acting internship program to theater students. Under the direction of Sean, as well as Erin Petersen, the interns rehearse and produce an accompanying production of the theater company’s current mainstage show.

As part of this process, the interns spend a few rehearsal hours with their professional counterparts acting in Intrepid’s ‘Macbeth,’ peppering them with questions about how to approach their roles and overcome their challenges.

Ben Ellerbrock, left, grills Patrick Duffy about Macduff's emotional arc

Ben Ellerbrock, right, grills Patrick Duffy about Macduff’s emotional arc

“I’m really jealous that they got this experience,” says Patrick Duffy, who plays Macduff in Intrepid’s production. “I never got to do this when I was in school. It’s really important to get all of these perspectives.”

Patrick’s intern counterpart, high school junior Ben Ellerbrock, agrees. “Sean and Erin give you a different perspective on what professional theater looks like and how it’s run,” he says. He particularly enjoyed discussing the emotional expectations of Macduff throughout the course of the play with Patrick.

“Macduff is kind of like this big surly guy,” Ben says. “You wouldn’t expect him to have much emotion. But you get to see him as a completed character.”

“He has a lot of heightened language and we talked about how to embrace that,” says Patrick. “Ben had some good insights about how this stoic hero, this staunch fierce character, breaks down.”

Robert Biter and Maggie Lombard high-five after their Ross discussion

Robert Biter and Maggie Lombard have a very insightful Ross discussion

Maggie Lombard, a sophomore who will be playing Ross in the intern production, first discovered Intrepid when the company came through her junior high school on an education tour and also just completed a summer session of Camp Intrepid. She says that this internship has taught her more than just how to analyze Shakespeare.

“This program has taught me dedication,” says Maggie. “With Shakespeare and theatre roles, I try to get as in depth as possible – I research and I plan and I try all these different approaches. That also shows in my work outside of theater.”

Robert Biter, who will play Ross in Intrepid’s production, was happy to add to Maggie’s academic approach by encouraging her to explore the character’s humanity.

“I encouraged her to go below the surface emotionally and take the experience of acting on a more personal level,” says Robert, “so that she could gain insight and some self awareness and knowledge that would serve her well.”

Andrew Moore, left, and Sean Yael-Cox discuss being Macbeth

Andrew Moore, left, and Sean Yael-Cox discuss being Macbeth

Some of the discussions were a relief. Andrew and Sean, as the Macbeths, tackled the play’s challenging speeches in their discussions.

“It made me realize that I’m not insane, that other people have the same problems with the role that I do,” says Andrew. “The speeches are going to be a little more difficult than I had anticipated. But Sean and I traded tips.”

While Intrepid is focused on giving the interns a picture of a professional theater company, the students who participate generally have a diversity of interests, including those outside of the arts.

“I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet,” says Ben, who is considering studying both the humanities and the sciences. “This internship is giving me an idea of what life would be like if I pursued a career in theater. I’m taking this heavily into consideration in the next year when I decide where to apply to colleges.”

Sean nods when he hears this.

“We’re not standing up there encouraging everyone to only pursue a career in theatre,” he says “You can learn a lot from this work whatever path you choose.”

The intern production of ‘Macbeth’ will run Saturday at 12 noon and Sunday at 11 am in the Clayton E. Liggett Theater. Open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the SDA Theatre Department.