Last Friday night, I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of catching The Frog & Peach Theater Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus at the West End Theater. A huge Shakespeare fan myself, I was thrilled and excited to be able to go see this play. This particular story was one I was not at all familiar with, nor had I ever heard of it being performed anywhere before, so that increased my happy anticipation of the event.
Walking into the theater, I was slightly taken aback; I had no idea that the West End Theater was part of a church. The actual performance space was small and closed in. It was almost like a black box, but the audience’s seats were elevated. This automatically heightened my level of excitement because everyone was so close together and so close to the stage area.
Since I had never fully read Titus Andronicus, I only brushed up on the general synopsis before attending the show, I did not really know what to expect. Part of me was a little bit nervous because, though I love Shakespeare, I know how easy it is to become confused while reading his stories, and even more confused watching them acted out in a performance. I knew this play would be particularly difficult for the stage since there is so much violence, and the space was so small. I was happily surprised once the show started. The perfect combination of smart directing and excellent acting made this show very easy to follow, despite the tangled storylines and Mr. Shakespeare’s renowned style of language.
The first thing I noticed was how easily the actors on stage worked together, especially with their movements. Nothing looked choppy or awkward or forced. Throughout the show, there are some pretty physical moments (the story is crazy-people killing people, cutting others’ hands and tongues off, it’s really Shakespeare at his finest) but all the actors were graceful and believable when performing them. I was especially impressed with the scene involving the attack of the character of Lavinia by the characters of Chiron and Demetrius. In this scene the two men abduct, rape, and mutilate the young woman; I was curious as to how they were going to act this out without being too graphic or explicit. They pulled it off nicely, though, with just enough visuals and a good amount of implication.
Something I should also mention is how phenomenal the acting was in this play. That was a big part, if not the biggest part, of why it was so enjoyable and fun to watch. Greg Mullavey played the title role effortlessly, completely captivating the audience every time he spoke. Brittany Proia, the actor who played Lavinia, really demonstrated her talents once her character’s hands and tongue were cut off. From then on, she had to do the majority of her acting through solely facial expressions and small movements. It was very impressive, to say the absolute least. Amy Frances Quint did an astounding job playing the enticingly terrible character of Tamora, Queen of the Goths (remember those two guys involved in the attack I mentioned earlier? Yeah, she is their mother and she actually encouraged them to go through with the act). I honestly couldn’t take my eyes off either of those two women, specifically. Well done, ladies.
Titus Andronicus is a story of betrayal, revenge, and just pure evil. It has been described as one of Shakespeare’s more modern shows, most likely because those feelings are pretty timeless. Watching the talented players perform this show at the West End Theater was definitely a highlight of my weekend. The directing was well-done, the acting almost flawless, and the whole experience was exactly what I look for when I go out to see a play. My hat is off to the Frog & Peach theater company, as well as the entire cast of Titus Andronicus.
The show is running through November 2nd and tickets can be purchased here.
Twisted Talk: Are you familiar with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus? What’s your favorite Shakespeare play? Discuss below!