- From left to right: Erin Rollman, Brian Colonna and Hannah Duggan in Titus Andronicus.
Every show needs a good tag line -- something to spark interest and elicit curiosity, or perhaps to evoke something that promises action. Buntport Theater knows this rule very well. Try on their catchphrase for the upcoming revival of Titus Andronicus: The Musical: "Finally (or, again), decapitation can be fun."
Whose interest isn't piqued?
The first time around, Buntport's adaptation of Titus Andronicus won them several accolades. The Denver Post Ovation Awards selected the play as best comedy of 2002 and nominated Brian Colonna for best actor in a comedy. The collaborative theater group also got two nods from Denver's alternative newspaper Westword in 2003 for best production (Reader's Choice) and best re-interpretation of Shakespeare. It should come as no surprise that audience demand has shaken the dust off the scripts and brought the Buntport players back to the stage in Shakespearean garb.
Buntport Theater dedicates itself to creativity through the collaborative process, staging original productions and a bimonthly (every other Tuesday and Wednesday) live sitcom. Since the formation of the group in 1998, 15 plays have been written and staged while Magnets on the Fridge has carried into a fourth successful season in Denver.
Buntport Theater consists entirely of Colorado College graduates, a fact that should earn them some local support in the Springs. Erin Rollman, Brian Colonna, Erik Edborg, Hannah Duggan and Evan Weissman make up the onstage batch of players. Matt Petraglia and Samantha Schmitz form the heart of the backstage and running crew.
The Indy recently spoke with actor Colonna regarding the upcoming performance:
Indy: Titus Andronicus is almost universally agreed to be Shakespeare's worst play. Do you agree?
Brian Colonna: I think it's one of his worst plays. It's super silly in terms of blood and gore. It's definitely over the top, but I think it is still great Shakespeare.
Indy: So Buntport Theater decided to set the play to music?
BC: Yes, well ... the musical adaptation is just some songs to help pass the time. We just want you to enjoy yourself and listen to a few songs.
Indy: The premise of the show involves a traveling group of performers?
BC: Perhaps you should talk to the professor about that. Let me change into him. In fact, he's never really given an interview before.
Indy: OK. Hi, Professor McGoldstien. That's an interesting name; what's the origin?
Professor: Mac-Goldstien. My mother was Scottish; my father was Jewish ... or was it the other way around? I don't know. I was left at a young age.
Indy: So you became a traveling performer?
Professor: Yes. There are four actors and myself. We are capable and willing to perform any play ever written. In fact, we have committed them all to memory.
Indy: And regarding Titus Andronicus?
Professor: Well there's Ron Wilkensen, a male performer, with me for four years -- he's pretty good ... he has highs and lows. Yes, and there's Isabel and Aqualine ... a strange name indeed. And I have a musician, but that's neither here nor there -- not too important.
But we do have a club wagon; well -- really a van. My stepfather gave it to me in '83, and I've been spreading theater all over the country ever since.
Indy: So, regarding Titus Andronicus?
Professor: It's a wonderful show.
-- Matthew Schniper
Titus Andronicus: The Musical
Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., Denver
Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 14 through Feb. 12, 8 p.m. (Pay what you can Jan. 21)
Tickets: $15, $10 for students and seniors
Call 720/946-1388 or visit www.buntport.com for reservations or information.