Macbeth with a twist

Rick Miller on his one man show MacHomer

By Tina Srebotjnak

© CBC Infoculture, December 24, 1999.

TORONTO - Montreal's Rick Miller has created a one man show based on Macbeth -- but there's a catch. Miller performs the play by doing the voices of more than 50 characters from The Simpsons.

MacHomer has been selling out all over Canada. Midday's host Tina Srebotjnak caught up with Rick Miller on the success of his show.

Tina Srebotjnak: I love this story. You were actually in the real Macbeth, the Shakespearean Macbeth. How did you come up this great idea?

Rick Miller: I had a small part in Macbeth so I spent a lot of time backstage concocting this little ridiculous skit I was going to perform at the cast party which I deemed too stupid. But then over the winter, I developed it and realized maybe some people might actually come and see this thing.

Tina Srebotjnak: It's Macbeth with characters of The Simpsons. How long is it?

Rick Miller: The show, the Macbeth part is 40 to 45 minutes so it's brutally slashed. It's down to the Shakespearean essentials -- the Coles Notes version with many "Simpsonisms" thrown in.

Tina Srebotjnak: Marge, of course, must be Lady Macbeth.

Rick Miller: Yes, I think it works quite well. There's one episode where she goes bonkers. It fits her well. She has this sort of passive housewife image but then again, sometimes she bursts out into these maniacal fits of energy.

Tina Srebotjnak: Do you think there is something Shakespearean about The Simpsons? It's become this pop culture phenomenon. People are always deconstructing The Simpsons. Do you see something tragic and Shakespearean there?

Rick Miller: I think so. We mentioned the dysfunctional family idea. It's definitely there with Macbeth and The Simpsons. Also the idea of satire and parody with is very prevalent in Shakespeare's works which I think The Simpsons does in a more modern context. Those are very similar and their both brilliantly written in different ways.

Tina Srebotjnak: I'm interested in your background. You were an architecture student. How did you get switched over into acting?

Rick Miller: Well, I suppose I was there because it was a field that touched on everything that I wanted to study. I was into learning about different arts and media. Architecture seemed to me the broadest of all the arts.

Robert LePage came to speak to us in second-year architecture school and he really opened my mind in terms of my creative potential. He was this Renaissance man that represented everything I really aspired to be. I stayed in architecture because I was learning a lot but as soon as I graduated I went into acting. I went right into Macbeth.

Tina Srebotnjak: You're right. Nobody crosses discipline like Robert LePage. You've done that in your work. Great idea

CAPTION: Rick Miller's version of Shakespeare's Macbeth is performed by doing the voices of more than 50 characters from The Simpsons
CAPTION: The notion of dysfunctional family is a theme that runs through both Macbeth and The Simpsons.
CAPTION: Rick Miller on stage performing MacHomer with Homer looking on.

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