Regicide and Villa Park village politics typically don’t go hand in hand.
But the two combine this weekend with recently elected Villa Park Trustee Jack Corkery starring in Saint Genesius Productions’ “Macbeth.” There will be two outdoor performances — today and Saturday — of Shakespeare’s tragedy at the Ruggard Gazebo in Villa Park.
“I’ll be wearing a kilt,” said Corkery, announcing his involvement in “Macbeth” during his trustee’s report at this week’s village board meeting.
In “Macbeth,” Corkery portrays Macduff. He’s one of the first Scottish nobles who suspects that the morally compromised title character and his scheming wife were behind the murder of King Duncan.
Contacted after a recent rehearsal, Corkery said he is appearing in “Macbeth” in part as a favor to his mother, Sara, who is the production co-director with Erin Sulla. Sara Corkery co-founded Saint Genesius Productions in 2011, and Corkery himself has appeared in many of their shows through the years.
“For the past few years, Saint Genesius has been doing full, all-ages musical productions like ‘1776’ or ‘Titanic,'” Corkery said.
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He added that the company’s switch to Shakespeare away from indoor shows at Willowbrook High School ultimately was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year, we tried to do ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ outdoors, but then ended up doing it over Zoom,” Corkery said. “This year, the vaccine is out, and things are starting to get a little better. We decided to do an outdoor show to allow people to gather more safely.”
Corkery said all “Macbeth” cast and crew over the age of 12 have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and that masks are worn around those in the production who are under 12. “Macbeth” is also Shakespeare’s shortest play, which was another prime reason it was chosen.
“It’s also a fast-paced show with a lot of action in it,” Corkery said. “It feels very modern, and we hope we can hold people’s attention with cars going by and planes flying overhead and people passing by on the Prairie Path.”
This is the first time Corkery has had to balance theater, work and his elected duties as a trustee all at once.
“I’ve had to miss a couple of rehearsals,” Corkery said. “But part of community theater is everyone has got other stuff to do, and we all have to work around that. But it’s been a good way to get to know the community better and bring some arts to Villa Park.”
Another village government connection in “Macbeth” comes with Neeraja Kumar, who is the daughter of recently elected Villa Park Trustee Deepasriya Kumar. Neeraja Kumar is double-cast in the role of a murderer and the doctor who observes Lady Macbeth’s iconic sleepwalking scene where she cries, “Out, damned spot, out, I say!”
Since “Macbeth” is a drama dealing with unbridled ambition and people grasping at political power, Corkery has already fielded a few questions about being both an elected official and an actor in the show.
“I told Village President (Nick) Cuzzone that he has nothing to worry about,” Corkery joked. “I haven’t received any prophecies from any witches.”