We can't stop being impressed with CalShakes. No matter how many productions of Shakespeare they churn out (on average, two per season, with two 50+-year-old, non-Shakespeare works in repertory as well), they still manage to find fresh and revealing ways of staging works that most actors and theater lovers have seen at least once or twice before in their lifetimes.

Their latest production of Macbeth is no exception, and this is a play that (like 2006's brilliant Merchant of Venice) requires some delicacy around the tone in order to make it feel at all modern. As director Joel Sass says in the program notes, "What should be a psychological horror show can become a campy haunted house pretty quickly if you don't attend to tone." Many might even recall high school productions of the play featuring the spooky chorus of the Wyrd Sisters portrayed as prosthetic-nosed witches, for instance. Not so in Sass's adapation. The three disturbing figures appear in the opening scene dressed as "nuns of an unnamed order," their faces blacked out behind modified fencing masks, their bodies sheathed in white habits with crosses painted on their chests in blood, their voices disembodied over the theater's speakers, and their hands wearing blue rubber gloves. They form the first taste of what is a truly frightening, off-putting, and wholly effective production meant to scare an audience raised on horror films.