Empty Chair Theatre: Titus Andronicus Review

Anyone who’s ever visited this web site knows that  I love seeing Shakespeare live. From the huge lavish productions of the Shakespeare Theatre Company,  to well – The Empty Chair Theatre of Alexandria, who’s budget is far exceeded by their talent.

Well’ I had the pleasure this weekend to see Empty Chair perform Titus Andronicus to a packed house at the Folgers Theater in Washington DC. Mind you, this is the same company I saw last month perform Twelfth Night  to an audience of 10 people, and their production  was one of the funnest, and most energetic versions I had ever seen.  So it was a great thrill to see them perform a benefit production of Titus at the Folgers.

Choosing to do Titus is always chancy. Being one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, you get the feeling he was out to make a name for himself. On stage there is 1 rape, multiple hands chopped off, 1 tongue ripped out, and various other hangings, butcheries, and other bits of nasty. As most people put it, it is Shakespeare’s bloodiest play. And to Empty Chairs great credit, they did not pull any punches, and the blood did flow.

Without going into the plot of the play, I just want say Empty Chair did a fantastic job. Keeping in mind that most of these actors are between the ages of 20 and 25, they found a strong lead in Danny Cackeley as Titus, who easily portrayed the the authority needed.  A graying and stately Marcus Andronicus was played by Jay Myers whom I would never have guessed was as young as he really is (I guess that’s why they call it acting).

Then there’s Lavinia, played by Amalia Camperlengo. Now I had seen this play several times before, and knew what was going to happen to Lavina. At first I thought Amaliea was playing Lavina to understated, but this might be me being a little jaded from seeing the play so many times.  But once the tragedy took place, there was a complete,  total, and absolute transformation in Amaliea. The Lavina from the beginning of the play was gone, and was replaced by a Lavina full of heartbreak, terror, and angst. She was chilling.

If it wasn’t getting so late, I would gladly go on about the rest of the company, but I think you get the idea. My wife and I really enjoyed seeing Empty Chair do Titus Andronicus (As much as we enjoyed their Twelfth Night), and I really hope you get a chance to see them soon.

Link: http://emptychairtheatre.org

Titus Andronicus

Directed by Julia Sears
July 14th, 15th, 21th-23th, 28th-30th 
Theater on the Run Black Box
(3700 Four Mile Run, Arlington, VA 22206)

Please help to support live Shakespeare in your area

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – $15 tickets at Groupon – VERY LIMITED!!!

$15 for One Ticket to Outdoor Theater Performance (Up to $36 Value)

Groupon has limited tickets  for $15, you get one adult admission to an outdoor Shakespeare performance from the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City (up to a $36 value). Children younger than 18 are admitted for free (limited to two free children per paying adult). This Groupon is valid for any one of the following performances:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Thursday, June 30 at 8 p.m.
The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Friday, July 1 at 8 p.m.
The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Saturday, July 2 at 8 p.m.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Sunday, July 3 at 6 p.m.

Link for Tickets: http://www.groupon.com/deals/chesapeake-shakespeare-company-1?c=all&p=1

Link for Play: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

 

Reminder: Two Opening Nights for Tonight and Tomorrow – Don’t forget to support your local groups!

Opening Nights for Tonight and Tomorrow.

TWO GENTLEMAN FROM VERONA performed by Brave Spirits Theatre tomorrow night (June 16th) –  This is the first night of their very first production, so I plan to be there early for a good seat! As I had said in a prior post, even though it’s a new company I’ve seen some of the actors already in several Shakespearean plays, so it will be interesting to see how they perform with this new company.

Link: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com

TWELFTH NIGHT performed by Empty Chair Theater Company is tonight.(June 15) – They’ve been around since 2007 and have done about 7 plays by Shakespeare. I’ll be there Saturday for the 2pm production for the simple fact that Twelfth Night is one of my favorites.

Link: http://www.emptychairtheatre.org/

See the Calender for more plays and details: http://marylandshakespeare.com/events-calender/

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Open’s Today

June 10th to July 24th the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you have never seen this play, it is one of Shakespeare’s most amazing and magical plays, and should never be missed. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen it live, and can’t wait to catch it again.

Link For Details: http://www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com

Performances will take place on the weekends at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Thursday performances will begin on June 30 at 8 p.m.

At: Patapsco Female Institute Historical Park, Ellicott City 3691 Sarahs Ln, Ellicott City, MD 21043

The eye of man hath not heard,
the ear of man hath not seen,
man’s hand is not able to taste,
his tongue to conceive,
nor his heart to report,
what my dream was.  –  Bottom

ALERT-FREE: STC Preview this Sunday for “The Merchant of Venice”

Just got this email – The Shakespeare Theatre Company will be performing a  free preview this Sunday of “The Merchant of Venice” at the Sidney Harman Hall. It’s just my luck I’ll be in Staunton at the Blackfriars watching As You Like it, but if I had the time I would most definitely be there.

Here’s a quote from the Email:

Whether contemplating the contents of gilded chests or the darkest corners of humanity, The Merchant of Venice challenges audiences to look beyond misleading appearances to find the true measure of things. This intriguing story of power and revenge, justice and mercy, true love and duplicity features some of Shakespeare’s most complex and memorable characters.

 

The Merchant of Venice is being staged at STC for the first time in more than a decade. Set against the gritty backdrop of 1920s Lower East Side New York City, this classic tale with a modern twist highlights that commerce is king and everything’s a commodity.

Link to: Shakespeare Theatre Company

Catch a preview this Sunday, June 12, at Open Rehearsal.

Seatings: 2 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.

Sidney Harman Hall.

Admission: FREE

First come, first served.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona this Month. Performed by Brave Spirits Theatre: DC’s Newest Shakespeare Company!

This is awesome, there’s a new  theatre company with an obvious passion for Shakespeare in Washington DC called “Brave Spirits Theatre”. They’ll be starting out their first season with The Two Gentlemen of Verona on June 16 – 18, 23 – 25.

There’s a couple of reasons why I am excited to see the Brave Spirits Theatre company (And with any luck, their first show). To start with, the ecstatic energy that comes with the start of any new venture is generally reflected in the performances, which gets poured out into the audience. And the second reason is that, this will not be the first time I’ve had a chance to  see some of the actors in this company. I have had the pleasure to see Jonathan Lee Taylor  in  The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. And just a couple of months ago I was lucky enough to see Ian Blackwell Rogers play Leontes in The Winter’s Tale. I had a chance to see Ian at another Shakespeare function last April in Baltimore where he left an indelible impression on my wife by reciting several Shakespeare sonnets to her. So in the vernacular of my 1970’s/1980’s Southern Maryland upbringing I just want to say to Ian, “Thanks Dude – You Rock”.

Yet’ I digress…

Here’s some more information about “Brave Spirits Theatre” from their website: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com/about.html

Brave Spirits Theatre, founded in 2011, is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing fresh, energetic productions of the works of William Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights to the Washington, D.C. region. We have a triangular focus: text, actor, and audience.

Text: We are unabashedly obsessed with language. We believe the text itself holds all the clues we need to perform an early modern play with truth and vitality. We examine imagery, verse, rhetorical devices, and embedded stage directions. Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote beautiful poetry, but they also wrote bawdy, gritty, realistic prose and we embrace both with equal relish. In short, we trust the text and it is the basis of our work.

Actor: We are a company that believes the actor is at the center of the artistic process. We seek out artists who are willing to take creative risks, who are bold and courageous, who are ensemble-driven, and who are professionally-minded in their commitment to the art. The actor is the vessel through which the text comes to life, and as such the actor must be willing to bare his or her soul onstage, and must be intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually adept.

Audience: We feel that the audience is the final ingredient needed to bring the play to life. In keeping with the early modern aesthetic, there is no fourth wall, and we engage the audience as a fellow actor, an active participant in the world of the play. Actors may turn the audience into a raucous mob, their confidants, or the butt of a joke. By playing with the audience rather than to them, we make these plays exciting, accessible, and relevant.

For more information, you can check them out at there website by going here: http://www.bravespiritstheatre.com/

Brave Spirits Theatre will be performing

The Two Gentleman of Verona

June 16 – 18, 23 – 25 The
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm
Saturday matinee at 2pm

tickets only $10

Now on sale at Brownpapertickets.com

performing at:

The Fridge DC
REAR ALLEY
516 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

MEETUP.COM: Read Shakespeare aloud! This Weekend at the National Mall in Washington DC

This is another DC-area Shakespeare explorer Meetup.com event for local Shakespeare enthusiasts. Come on, you know you want to practice your chops by reading some Shakespeare out loud. And if you don’t feel like reading, come out for the discussion, or simply for the pleasure of being in the company of others who feel the same way about the Bard as you do.

The focus this Sunday will be on plays that will be performed in the area this year:

  • As You Like it (Act 2, Scene 7)
  • Julius Caesar (Act 1)
  • A Midsummers Night Dream (Act 2, Scene 3, Act 3, Scene 1)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (still thinking, any suggestions?)
  • Othello (4.2 and 4.3)

Click here for details: DC-area-Shakespeare-explorers

Happens this Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 5:30 PM

The National Mall
near 7th and Madison Washington, DC

Bring a chair or Blanket

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