Hundreds of theater fans, arts enthusiasts and day-trippers from across New Jersey set up camp on the Lincroft campus this month for the 14th annual production of Shakespeare on the Lawn.
This year’s featured play – the rarely performed 16th century tragedy “Titus Andronicus” – was arguably the edgiest material ever staged by the Summer Shakespeare Ensemble and director John Bukovec, who pulled no punches when it came the play’s troubling themes and shocking acts of violence.
“Shakespeare’s work was never exactly tame, but in ‘Titus,’ which many believe to be his first tragedy, we see things like rape, incest, dismemberment and the like,” said Bukovec, also a Brookdale theater professor.
“It really wasn’t the kind of play you would see anywhere else, and I could not be happier with the way it turned out. Our cast and crew put in so much work and turned in some amazing performances. And no audience members walked off offended, which is a nice plus.”
The play featured more than 20 Brookdale students, alumni and actors from across Monmouth County, who collectively logged thousands of hours this spring and summer rehearsing and preparing for the show, Bukovec said.
That dedication paid off, as the production drew a total audience of more than 600 over the course of seven shows and elicited some rave reviews from those in attendance.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Jessica Ponkzek, a Warren County resident and self-described patron of the arts. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an outdoor performance like this, and I’m surprised by how engaging it was. The actors really conveyed a sense of emotion and realism.”
To learn more about Brookdale’s acclaimed theater program or to view upcoming performances and events, click here.
Check out more photos of “Titus Andronicus” here.