Murder, Cannibalism, Kids! TITUS ANDRONICUS JR. to Make World Premiere in Vegas Before LA Run
Mr. Benjamin, a recently divorced art teacher at upscale Dawson Middle School, is assigned the most unenviable task: to direct the Spring play! When he opts to mount Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy he gets caught in a darkly comic spiral as the students supplant the teacher and he learns the toughest lesson of them all...
TITUS ANDRONICUS JR. had its origins two years ago when Heard staged A VERY MERRY UNAUTHORIZED CHILDREN'S SCIENTOLOGY PAGEANT with a cast of young children. "After PAGEANT, I had people coming up to me saying I should do Shakespeare with children, which didn't really interest me. But I thought if only there were a gimmick...and that's where the idea of doing TITUS popped up. I took inspiration from the pageant scenes in THE ADDAMS FAMILY movies." But that still wasn't enough for Heard.
"The framing concept of the teacher/director suffering a nervous breakdown developed about a year later. Who else would be insane enough to attempt to stage this show with a bunch of middle schoolers than a teacher at the end of his rope. So 'Mr. Benjamin' quickly became a major character and in some ways his descent into madness mirrors General Titus's tragic decline," says Heard.
The script was given a public reading as part of UNLV's Organic and Homegrown Playwrights Festival in March and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Audiences expecting a quirky evening of children performing Shakespeare were instead given a darkly comic journey. "The best part of this process has been the constant workshopping of TITUS. Even after its Onyx run, we'll still be tweaking it for a June run as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles."
Performances of TITUS ANDRONICUS JR. will be May 12 through 28, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm., with a 5:00 p.m. performance on Sunday, May 22. Tickets are $20 for General Admission. Tickets may be purchased online at www.onyxtheatre.com or at the Box Office an hour before show time.
The Onyx Theatre is located at 953 E. Sahara Ave. #16B in Commercial Center, Las Vegas, NV 89104. For more information, call 702-732-7225 or visit www.onyxtheatre.com. Nearby dining options include Komol (Thai and vegetarian-friendly); Cornish Pasty Co.; and the world famous Lotus of Siam.