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It sounded so simple when Alex Righetti, the theater department head, explained it to Dewy Spearman who, at 43 years-old, is recently divorced, changing careers, and enjoying his renewed bachelorhood with female graduate students some of whom are only half his age; go to New Orleans, teach theater at a private college, and stage a production in a semi-professional theater in the French Quarter. He needed only to make one simple choice: stay in Memphis with his lovely ladies and kiss his new career goodbye; or leave his ladies, go to New Orleans, and make his professional bones bu staging Macbeth---except all productions of Macbeth are cursed.
Based largely on his recently-acquired reputation in graduate school, Spearman is immediately put on notice by the college’s ice-princess dean: sex with students is taboo. And yet, one determined ingénue wants Spearman's head on a pillow---hers---and Spearman finds Susan uncommonly attractive.
The dowager trustee of the theater’s supporting fund, Clotilde Boudron, imperiously pre-cast her darling, Lance Sterling, an inane Adonis, in the role of Macbeth. When Spearman fires Lance for subverting his direction, Clotilde wants Spearman’s head on a platter.
Spearman finds the lighting director hanging in the rigging, dead---ruled accidental by the coroner---yet he suspects that Clotilde’s no-count son, Ellis, the theater’s business manager, murdered the lighting director to cover his larceny. When Spearman exposes Ellis as an embezzler, Ellis wants Spearman’s head on a sword.
Heedless of warnings, Spearman falls in love with his leading lady, Stella Maris, a woman with a shady reputation and a malevolent lover, Val Von Dragon. Stella’s jealous, lover gives Spearman enough rope to hang himself, and then moved in to reclaim his Stella---at Spearman's expense. Von Dragon wants Spearman’s head on a pike.
When Spearman brings Ellis to rough justice, Clotilde presents an ultimatum to the board: she wants Spearman fired and defamed, or she will take away the theater's funding.
And so, Dewy Spearman finds himself on stage, in performance, costumed as Macbeth with sword in hand, battling to keep his head on his shoulders, his reputation intact, his career on course, and his lady free from enthrallment by her malevolent lover.