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Georgia Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’

2009 July 13

Chris _Sarah

If there is anyone who has a reason for revenge, it is I, who would like to lop off the limbs of the man who recently stole nearly $130,000 from me and two others. Thankfully, having seen “Titus Andronicus,” I won’t, as clearly revenge is not so sweet. Perchance to dream rather than to act.

Now playing at Georgia Shakespeare,  William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” matches the fear incited by the most gruesome horror movie, and it all happens in the name of revenge. A queen’s son is executed. A woman is raped, her hands are amputated, and her tongue is cut out. A queen’s illicit lover chops off a general’s hand and beheads his two sons. A chef serves a queen her own children up for dinner in mince meat pies. It’s so chilling, and at times so life-like, this production will make you cover your eyes and look.

Although the play was written around 1590, Director Richard Garner mixes many styles and the old with the new in this tragic tale of Roman life. Playing numerous instruments, including a home-built marimbula, Klimchak mixes time and place with compositions influenced by Gamelan, Latin, Arabic and African styles of music. The set (designed by Kat Conley) features Grecian architecture and modern sculptures. And costumes, selected by Christine Turbitt, consist of tunicas and shawls,  as well as modern-day clothing: business suits, evening gowns and army wear. Perhaps the combination of different eras and countries is to remind us how closely the past resembles the present, especially as this century faces similar atrocities around the world in places like Sierra Leone, Iraq and Iran.

Georgia Shakespeare presents a good production of a wonderfully horrific play. Although initially unconvincing on opening night as Lavinia, Sarah M. Johnson became terrific after she suffered the atrocities thrust upon her. Tess Malis Kincaid portrayed Tamora with cunning power.

“Titus Andronicus” at Georgia Shakespeare runs through Aug. 2.

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