There will be blood. There will be great armies marching and a famous general, loved and despised, who brings both war and peace to Rome. There will be betrayal. There will be death. There may be tears, too.
And all this will occur in Vineyard Haven, in less than 60 minutes, in February no less, with no cost to the adventurous theatre-goer. Welcome once again to Shakespeare for the Masses.
This time the Vineyard troupe, dedicated to a free and quicker retelling of the master playwright’s works, attack Coriolanus, the only Shakespeare play ever banned by a democratic government. It seems Coriolanus was not a big believer in democracy. To give commoners power over the ruling elite is like allowing “crows to peck the eagles,” he says.
But he’s not all bad and famous thespians have found the heart beneath the warrior. Laurence Olivier played Coriolanus at the Old Vic Theatre in 1937. During the final tragic death scene, Olivier dropped backwards from a high platform, suspended upside-down without the aid of wires. It was awesome.
Sir Ian McKellen took a shot at the role, as did Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and Ralph Fiennes.
And now a merry band of Vineyarders will embrace this cold, dark story on a cold, dark Island weekend.
Showtimes are Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring street in Vineyard Haven.