Acting standouts drive orgy of revenge in Shakespeare fest's 'Titus' - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
Richard Marlatt plays the title character in Nebraska Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus."


Acting standouts drive orgy of revenge in Shakespeare fest's 'Titus'
By Bob Fischbach / World-Herald staff writer


They warned us. And what a grim piece of storytelling “Titus Andronicus” really turned out to be.

But somehow I had prepared myself for more blood.

At Nebraska Shakespeare's second opening night Thursday in Elmwood Park, about 550 watched as nearly every character of any significance — and several bit players as well — died in an orgy of revenge between warring factions of ancient Rome.

The killing continued right up to the last haunting image of the night, in which we see the legacy of vengeance handed down to the next generation as both killer and victim.

Titus Andronicus

What: Nebraska Shakespeare stage tragedy

Where: Elmwood Park, just southeast of the Weber Fine Arts Building, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge St.

When: 8 p.m., tonight through Sunday, plus July 2 and 6. Activities on the green begin at 6 p.m.

Tickets: Free admission; a donation will be taken.

Information: 402-280-2391 or nebraskashakespeare.com

But despite a caution to parents that the content might be too upsetting for small children (I didn't see many around), director Vincent Carlson-Brown's staging seemed not much bloodier or more graphic than other tragedies from past seasons.

What made this one particularly worth catching were some standout performances — especially by two women in a male-dominated cast.

Moira Mangiameli was mesmerizing as Tamora, the defeated Goth queen brought home to Rome by conquering general Titus Andronicus, only to become his worst enemy. Scheming Tamora marries the new emperor, turns her sons loose on Titus' only daughter, Lavinia, and cuckolds the emperor by having a child with her servant, Aaron the Moor.

Mangiameli is chillingly good in scene after hard-hearted scene — she makes you believe the actions of a woman sworn to get even for her humiliation and the execution of her son.

Sarah Carlson-Brown, the director's wife, is deeply moving as Lavinia, raped (offstage) by Tamora's sons. After they chop off her hands and cut her tongue, Lavinia has a piteous, half-crazed scene — and Carlson-Brown, too, makes you believe.

Beethovan Oden is a standout as Aaron. In two terrific scenes he revels in all the evil he has done. Nick Albrecht is also strong as Saturninus, the newly crowned emperor who marries Tamora, while Konrad Case is just right as Titus' eldest son, Lucius.

In the challenging role of Titus, Richard Marlatt makes me think the role is a clear foreshadowing of Shakespeare's King Lear, going a bit mad at the bitter cards life has dealt him — and that he has dealt himself.

A big plus for this production: striking visual images. Robbie Jones' scenic design, Herman Montero's lighting, Lindsay Pape's costumes and Carlson-Brown's staging combined for some memorable effects — never more than in a dreamlike scene where Tamora looms high above, disguised as a giant black bird. Her sons lurk as rape (a stag's head) and murder (a wolf) amid a thicket created only by shadow and light. Very cool.

Visually strong and, for the most part, well-acted, this “Titus” is heavy lifting — as it's meant to be. But its message about the endless cycle of revenge remains all too relevant today. Vincent Carlson-Brown and company give us something to bloody well think about. Oden, Mangiameli and Sarah Carlson-Brown give us something to admire and remember.

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

Country music's six biggest threesomes
Country music's six biggest threesomes

Country stars are often singular — one bright star orbited by a band, producers and songwriters.


Northwest Omaha bar closes its doors
Northwest Omaha bar closes its doors

The Loose Moose Bar and Grill has closed its doors.


Foreigner wants Nebraska to show them what love is
Foreigner wants Nebraska to show them what love is

Rock band Foreigner will perform at UNL's Lied Center for Performing Arts for the Lied's 25th anniversary season.


This is what thousands of pounds of discarded Omaha computers looks like
This is what thousands of pounds of discarded Omaha computers looks like

Thursday's Drive for Drives event was a bracing reminder that even the brightest, shiniest technology will someday die and be forgotten.


Omaha's dive-iest dive bars
Omaha's dive-iest dive bars

Omaha's many neighborhood bars run the gamut of experiences.


Dining notes: Famous Dave’s moving to new spot
Dining notes: Famous Dave’s moving to new spot

Council Bluffs’ Famous Dave’s is relocating.


South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food fest
South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food fest

This year, for the first time, South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an authentic Mexican food festival.


Sawyer Brown known for its 'Nebraska Song'

Sawyer Brown is known for its three No. 1 country hits and 16 studio albums, but here in Nebraska, it's mostly known for one thing.


Help Spirit World kill its bottles
Help Spirit World kill its bottles

Get your hands on whiskey this weekend at Spirit World's “Kill the Bottle” event.


Movie review: A-level action, D-level plot in Paul Walker's 'Brick Mansions'
Movie review: A-level action, D-level plot in Paul Walker's 'Brick Mansions'

The late Paul Walker wasn't a great actor, but within a narrow corner of the action genre, he was the guy who got the job done, a vulnerable tough guy.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved