Two plays in Kilgore fest make it worth the drive
– “Compares favorably to the rendition we
caught two weeks ago ... which is saying something, if one considers the
larger company enjoys an annual budget 100 times more ($50 million vs.
less than $500,000)”
– “Director Gregg W. Brevoort kept the
action briskly cogent”
The production history of Coriolanus, relatively thin in
comparison to Shakespeare’s other tragedies, have put the play into two
camps: Coriolanus as a strictly political play – or – Coriolanus
as a more human drama, a tragedy of personality and psychology. Rehearsing
the play here in Kilgore we have found it, of course, to be both.
The political context of the play, involving class struggle, warfare and
power politics, keeps the momentum of the play energetic and
forward-moving. The tensions of the play are quickly introduced and
excitingly developed. It is Shakespeare at his most gripping, at his
Yet, the characters involved, rich and complex as they are, take us on a
deeply personal journey, as well - and soon we see that the political crisis
and the personal crisis ingeniously coincide.
Coriolanus’ journey becomes one of transformation and metamorphosis, as
he battles his own upbringing and questions his own nature. The welfare of
the state teeters in that questioning.
In Coriolanus, we have some of Shakespeare’s most fascinating
characters. Volumnia, the mother, may very well be one of Shakespeare’s
great female roles. She begs comparison with Lady Macbeth, of course, one
ambitious for her husband, Volumnia ambitious for her son. And while
Freudians the world over have been looking to Hamlet and his mother,
Gertrude - wait until you meet Volumnia! The mother-son relationship in
Coriolanus could fill psychology text-books for generations to come!
So while it may feel like a political play, The Tragedy of Coriolanus
is a penetrating work in that it goes much deeper. Not known for its
soaring poetry, it nevertheless soars emotionally, and makes Coriolanus an
exhilarating piece of theatre.