Homer Simpson meets MacBeth
Rick Miller is still unsure exactly how he went from straight-A geekiness as a school kid to a career rooted in Homeresque parody of Shakespearian proportions. But like all good jobs, it began as a joke.Miller is the mastermind behind 3MacHomer: OThe Simpsons1 Do MacBeth. The one-man show entails 50 different Simpsons characters acting out 3MacBeth with a script that is 85 percent Shakespeare and 15 percent Matt Groenig1s 3The Simpsons.3MacHomer is a fast-paced adventure, despite the laid-back persona of off-stage Miller.3I have a wife and a cat, nothing too bizarre, he said.The germ of the idea sprouted at a cast party for a very serious performance of 3MacBeth. As Murderer Number Two, he had a lot of time backstage. Some might even say too much time. In an attempt to make fun of the rest of the cast, Miller performed a 10-minute shtick of 3MacBeth highlights using Simpsons characters, and one thing led to another. The show has a run time of about 90 minutes now.3I try and get as much humor out of the tragedy as possible, said Miller.Homer plays MacHomer, Marge is Lady MacHomer, Mr. Burns is King Duncan and Ned Flanders plays Banquo, MacHomer1s best buddy.3Barney plays MacDuff, who is my favorite character, said Miller. 3He1s such a pathetic character, but lovable. He has a nobility in him. There1s a tragic quality to Barney, so it1s fitting.According to Miller, the nature of 3The Simpsons makes them a perfect fit for Shakespeare. Though 3South Park amuses him as well, those characters are only funny because they1re shocking, and don1t have enough depth to pull of 3MacBeth.3The two together<to me<are not as discordant as people would think. OThe Simpsons1 work on a lot of levels, and one of those is the nobility quality. We care about these characters, we are party to their flaws and foibles. It1s a very emotional quality.He has a point. Often, the most enlightened feminist can good-naturedly laugh at Homer1s chauvinistic attitudes. In a show where nothing is sacred, there1s a distinct lack of mean-spiritedness. Fans of the show range from middle schoolers to university professors. Key to the success of 3MacHomer is Miller1s unilateral irreverence and affection for the works of both Shakespeare and Groenig.3When Shakespeare was creating his plays, they weren1t attended by the soft seats, said Miller. 3His work was the pop culture of its time<almost the TV audience of the time. They would have preferred the irreverence of this work, as opposed to another badly acted stuffy production. It1s just the language that creates a lot of fear for people now. It1s not easy at a first listen<you have to dig in.Miller helps people dig in, and in the process has brought many people into the theater who otherwise wouldn1t have even entertained the notion. Sometimes, he does shows exclusively for high school students.3Ninety percent of the time, teachers are ecstatic, he said. 3The teachers who don1t like it are the ones who don1t see any value in OThe Simpsons.1 Most of them love the fact that these kids are getting OMacBeth1 despite themselves. They tell me they1ve started to read it again.3It1s parody, he added. 3Both Shakespeare and Matt Groenig are holding up mirrors to our society.Miller was able to meet the entire 3Simpsons cast in Scotland, and he described them as very generous and kind. He1s been touring this show for five years, usually to sold-out audiences of 1,000 seats and more. Though he loves the show, he is also working on other projects, namely 3Bigger Than Jesus.3I1ve played Jesus twice, in both OGodspell1 and OJesus Christ Superstar.1 I1m fascinated by the historical figure of Jesus. I grew up Roman Catholic, and I think religion, politics, anything important should be a struggle. You should question it. This is me questioning Jesus, not in a sacrilegious way, but from different perspectives.For now, though, Miller is content to be MacHomer. 3MacHomer: OThe Simpsons1 Do MacBeth will be performed at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. For more information or to buy tickets, call 845-TIXS or visit http://www.vilarcenter.org.Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.