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Rockland Shakespeare Company Presents 21st Season: Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night

Rockland Shakespeare Company Presents 21st Season: Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night

Rockland Shakespeare Company - 21st Season: Titus Andronicus and Twelfth Night

Shows at RCC begin July 6 and are free and open to the public


DATE: July 1, 2018

RAMAPO, N.Y. – Tragedy and comedy will command center stage this summer as the Rockland Shakespeare Company (RSC) offers free performances of a pair of William Shakespeare’s plays, Titus Andronicus and Twelfth Night, at Rockland Community College’s Cultural Arts Theater. All are invited to enjoy the theatrical troupe’s 21st anniversary season, which runs from Friday, July 6, through Saturday, July 21.

Thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus kicks off the eight-show season with a classic revenge plot set in the latter days of the Roman Empire. The pervasive motifs of death and violence evoke the Roman spectacle plays that were extremely popular in their day. “Titus Andronicus is so visceral, so grounded in raw, dark, human nature,” says Christopher Plummer, RSC’s co-director along with Patty Maloney-Titland. “I believe it was the blueprint for so many other tragedies.” Likewise, Plummer believes the play’s character of Aaron the Moor was a template for Iago, one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable antagonists.

RSC is known for staging its Shakespeare plays with a distinct twist. This year’s Titus production has been adapted to resemble a 1920s-era milieu and draws inspiration from the Netflix show Peaky Blinders, a British television crime drama about gangs in northern England after World War I. “There are strong parallels to that show with all the inter-familial strife, violence and death,” Plummer says.

In contrast, Twelfth Night presents audiences with a revenge plot of a different sort, with love triangles, three scheming merrymakers and the fate of the curmudgeonly foil Malvolio making for delightful summertime fare. “To me, what they ultimately do to Malvolio is over the top in its disproportionate cruelty, but I think the Elizabethan audience loved that,” says Plummer. “Many modern audiences would respond more to the love relationships and the slapstick.” RSC puts a unique Arabian Knights spin on the classic comedy with period costumes and music.

For the second straight year, the performances will be staged in RCC’s Cultural Arts Theater instead of outdoors. The new outdoor performance space, the John and Joan Maloney Rockland Globe Stage, is expected to be ready in time for next year’s RSC summer season. Meanwhile, RSC continues its experimental on-stage seating for the audience, with the actors performing on an elevated riser platform above the stage where the audience will sit.

Seating is limited because of the on-stage seating arrangement. All performances begin at 7 pm. “You really don’t get more polar opposites than these two,” says Plummer, who noted that RSC has performed Twelfth Night twice before and Titus Andronicus once since the ensemble’s founding in 1998. “But that’s been our rhythm for over 20 years now. We’re never strictly tragedy or comedy. This gives people a flavor for both.”

Rockland Shakespeare Company 21st Season

RCC Cultural Arts Theater
145 College Road
Suffern, NY 10901

Week 1 (July 6-8)

Fri July 6: Titus Andronicus
Sat July 7: Twelfth Night
Sun July 8: Titus Andronicus

Week 2 (July 13-15)

Fri July 13: Twelfth Night
Sat July 14: Titus Andronicus
Sun July 15: Twelfth Night

Week 3 (July 20-21)

Fri July 20: Titus Andronicus
Sat July 21: Twelfth Night

For more information, please call 845-574-4471.


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