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

Coachella: Best of Day 1 includes The Replacements, Outkast
Coachella: Best of Day 1 includes The Replacements, Outkast

Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn check in from Indio to review Friday's top sets from the godfather of indie rock festivals.


What to watch: Series premiere of 'Tobacco Wars' on CMT
What to watch: Series premiere of 'Tobacco Wars' on CMT

Kentucky has some interesting industries: moonshine, ginseng and fire-cured tobacco. This series goes inside the high-stakes world starting with planting season.


Maha Music Festival announces lineup; might be its best yet
Maha Music Festival announces lineup; might be its best yet

August concert promises to pack Stinson Park with indie rock fans.


A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour
A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour

The downtown staple recently introduced a happy hour. And its menu's pretty amazing.


Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita

Chef Jose Dionicio has wisely refocused Taita on sushi, and the well-crafted small bites of fresh fish I tasted from his one-man sushi bar are delectable.


New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week
New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week

Fusion BBQ, at 7024 Maple St., focuses on American style barbecue cooking melded with international cuisines.


Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing
Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing

The Nebraska Beef Council announced the winner of its Nebraska's Best Burger contest.


Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef
Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef

Ryan Devitt will come to the restaurant as both a chef and partner to focus on farm-to-table style cuisine.


Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party
Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party

Over Easy is playing host to a west Omaha block party this summer.


Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary
Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary

“Transcendence,” a sci-fi thriller about an attempt to meld the human mind with technology, falls far short of transcendence. So far short I had to fight off sleep.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

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