By Cole Evans, Reporter
While UNO students are learning to get back into the groove of school after summer, the UNO theatre department has been hard at work. Their upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” will no doubt prove to be another stunning performance from the theatre department.
For those of us who are less Shakespearean literate, “Titus Andronicus” follows the story of a man, Titus, who returns with his sons from war with cargo that includes the Goth Queen Tamora and her sons. To satiate the soul of Titus’ dead son, one of Queen Tamora’s boys is slain. Praised for his noble return, Titus is to be made Emperor but refuses, deferring the crown to the late emperor’s son Saturninus. From that moment on, Titus’ world spirals out of control. With revenge plots and vendettas sparked by Queen Tamora and her sons, Titus fights back until almost everyone is vanquished in both families. It is a tale of the power revenge holds over people and the madness that ensues.
“Titus Andronicus” was hugely popular during the Elizabethan Era when the play’s gory themes reflected the times. During the 18th and 19th centuries it fell out of favor due to its crude content and poor writing. Many attempts were made to declare it unfit for production. In 1955, however, it was briefly revived by Peter Brooks. Rarely performed in modern theaters due to the difficult plot line and staging, UNO’s production of “Titus” is sure to be outstanding.
In an interesting twist, the characters of the play have been thoroughly “diagnosed” by UNO director Dr. Scott Glasser and Dr. Benjamin Graber and appear not only as characters in the play, but as patients in an asylum. This twist is enhanced by the audience seating configured in the style of an operating theater used in the 19th century for physicians to view operations. A drop ceiling with missing and broken tiles, adds to the sterile, hospital-like feel of the play.
Upcoming productions for the school year include: “Mirror of the Invisible World” by Mary Zimmerman, “Or,” by Liz Duffy Adams, “The Archeology of Dreams” by Caridad Svich, and “Female Transport” by Steven Gooch.