Get your lawn chair ready. Brookdale’s widely popular Summer Shakespeare Ensemble will return to the Great Lawn of the Lincroft campus July 9 with a two-week run of William Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.”
The performances, held Thursday through Sunday from July 9 – 19, are free and open to all.
This year’s production, however, also comes with a word of warning. According to director and Brookdale theater Professor John Bukovec, “Titus” is not for the the faint of heart.
Thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy, the late 16th century play details a series of violent conflicts between the Roman general Titus and Tamora, Queen of the Goths.
“There is murder, betrayal, blood — ‘Titus’ is an adrenaline-charged play, depicting people behaving very badly,” Bukovec said. “They are willing to do anything to satisfy their own wants, needs and desires. The play takes an unflinching look at what we are willing to do for family, and why.”
This year’s play selection, Bukovec said, came from a desire to “keep things interesting” as Shakespeare on the Lawn enters its 14th season on the Lincroft campus.
During that time, the annual production has shone a light on some 350 student actors, alumni and members of the local theater community.
Shakespeare on the Lawn has also served as a showcase for the college itself, attracting hundreds of community members to the beautiful Lincroft campus each summer.
Last year’s eight-show production of “A Winter’s Tale,” for example, drew a total audience of nearly 900. Over the past 13 years, the Ensemble has performed for approximately 15,000 people, Bukovec said.
Cast and crew members are currently in the final stretch of preparations for “Titus Andronicus,” with many students logging between 140 and 150 hours of total rehearsal time.
“That’s about a semester’s worth of work, if you think about it,” he said. “Our students really do work their tails off on this show.”
“Titus Andronicus” will be presented at 7 p.m. July 9 -11 and July 16 – 18, and at 6 p.m. on July 12 and 19. Parking is available in lot 2. Blankets, chairs and picnic baskets are all encouraged.
For more information, call the Brookdale Performing Arts Center Box Office at (732) 224-2411.