Thorsten appeared in many stage productions at the Hilberry Theatre, a unique graduate repertory theater in Detroit. Reviews of some of these producations are available here.
Above: As Eilert Loevborg in Hedda Gabler
Nothing ruins a good cocktail party like the unexpected appearance of the man you just murdered.
If you happen to be the host (and the one ordered the hit), the trick is to not let your guests see you flipping out when the ghost shows itself. No one else can see it, so to avoid self-incrimination, calmly pass the haggis and politely discuss the blasted heath.
In Macbeth, now, at the Hilberry Theatre, the guilty host inevitably goes mad, jarring the dinner and sending the guests to ponder his behavior.
"You have displaced the mirth," deadpans Lady Macbeth.
To say the least.
That line gets a laugh for its understatement. It also happens to illustrate the quality of Robert T. Hazzard's staging, in which mirth - adventurousness, an anxious momentum - is displaced by sobriety and reasonableness.
The Hilberry's retirement-bound Hazzard, directing his final Wayne State University play after 31 years working there, creates the kind of respectable Macbeth that high school English teachers would admire for its clarity.
That's not meant to be backhanded. Hazzard, whose productions in recent years leaped out at you, honors the text not by superimposing a funky modern concept on it. He relies instead on a strong core company led by Thorsten Kaye as Macbeth and Roxanne Wellington as his galling wife.
Wellington is voracious, hungrily grabbing on to her husband when she emasculates him for having doubts about their bloody ascension. When he does not respond as she wishes, she produces a frustrated, muted cry, as if to admonish a child.
Throughout, even before her memorable, crazy-eyed sleepwalking scene, the blonde, ashen Wellington looks like Ophelia gone very mad.
Kaye, an imposing actor whose mane gets more bedraggled as the corruption deepens, richly communicates Macbeth's wavering between indecision and action, finally releasing his potency. After dispatching Banquo's killers, he lets out a chillingly half-gleeful, half-nasty snarl.
As one of Shakespeare's shortest, clearest and most bloodthirsty plays, Macbeth is such gripping fun it almost propels itself along. That's a lucky thing, because when the Macbeths are not plotting, or when the passionate Arion Alston is not suffering the loss of his wife as Macduff, others in the company come off as if they are waiting for a bus.
Indifference lingers in the early scenes leading up to the murder of King Duncan, played by Tony Noice. His performance is so watery and colorless you guess Scotland was indeed better off without him.
And if the company looks terrific in Mary B. Musinski's earthy, layered costumes, appropriate, for the murky climate prior to lighting designer John Montgomery's rejuvenating-sunburst at the climax, Hazzard too often has his peripheral characters walking on and responding with little ambition or energy.
There is room for something more aggressive. You wish Hazzard, at least in that haunted banquet scene, would've gone more over-the-top, tossing plates around, knocking chairs over, spilling wine like blood.