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Coriolanus

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 4740

SHOWING : May 28, 2015 - June 14, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Forced into the Senate by his overbearing mother, the Achilles-like Coriolanus does nothing to hide his disdain for democracy, which works against him as Rome’s leader. His citizens are hungry; his Senate peers are disloyal. Eventually banished by his own people, this God of War does the only thing he knows to do: lead his own enemy’s army to kill the very people he serves. Shakespeare’s tale of extreme betrayal is also one of his bloodiest and most political tragedies.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Drew Reeves
Roman Senator Tony Brown
Virgilia Kirsten Calvert
Volumnia Heidi Cline
Valeria Kelly Criss
Volscian Soldier Ralph del Rosario
Roman Senator Nicholas Faircloth
Caius Marcius Coriolanus Jonathan Horne
Cominius Chris Kayser
Adrian Antonia LaChè
Junius Brutus Tony Larkin
Sicinius Velutus Kathryn Lawson
Titus Lartius Vinnie Mascola
Volscian Soldier Stephen Ruffin
Tullus Aufidius Jacob York
Ensemble Trey York
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REVIEWS

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Coriolanus Don’t Get No Respect
by playgoer
Sunday, June 14, 2015
3.5
"Coriolanus" starts with Rome’s commoners upset with Caius Marcius, due to his perceived aloofness (which arises from a combination of pride and modesty). That doesn’t change after he almost single-handedly defeats Corioli, garnering him the name of Coriolanus. He’s banished. Then, when he joins with his former enemies against Rome but unilaterally brokers a peace, his new allies are upset with him. Since this is a Shakespearean tragedy, he then dies. It’s over three hours from start to finish, and it feels every minute of that length.

The tavern stage is tricked out with Roman columns, standards, and a Roman pitched roof. It’s enough to give the flavor of the place and period. Costumes, designed by Anné Carole Butler, have a Roman tunic and toga feel, with distinct black costumes for the enemy Volscian forces and distinct plebeian costumes for the common people. The palette’s a little drab, but the costumes do a good job of distinguishing the different groups of people operating at cross-purposes in the plot. Lighting, by Matt Felten, provides atmospheric intensity to the action.

The cast is uniformly good, although Ralph del Rosario plays his roles more broadly than the rest. There’s a lot of talking in some roles, and that makes the mind tend to wander a bit in listening to Sam R. Ross (Menenius), Coriolanus (Jonathan Horne), and Sicinius (Kathryn Lawson). Their performances are fine; there’s just too many words coming out of their mouths to keep up (and Mr. Ross’ projection is not all it could be, even though he is playing a supposedly aged character). Standouts in clarity of projection are Tony Larkin (Junius Brutus), the forceful Antonia LaChè, and the clarion-voiced Heidi Cline McKerley (Volumnia). Ms. Cline McKerley nearly steals the show with her beautifully calibrated performance. The Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern regulars, by and large, tend to walk through their roles; the most exciting performances come from those who have worked there least frequently.

Director Drew Reeves keeps the action fluid and varied. Fight choreography, assisted by Matt Felten, makes for some very exciting group fight scenes. When it reduces to one-on-one, though, Jacob York (Tullus Aufidius) tends to make the fight action more lumbering than believable. Even so, his character’s propensity for hugging his friends rather than merely shaking hands makes a convincing case for the aloof Coriolanus to join with him. Mr. Reeves and the design team have done a fine job of pointing up the various factions at play in the plot of "Coriolanus." The show doesn’t have a lot of special effects, but there’s a wonderful blood bath in the death of the title character. The final tableau seems tacked-on, but the overall effect is that Shakespeare’s text has been brought to rousing life. If you’re eager to see "Coriolanus," this is a fine production to see.
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