By William Shakespeare
Directed Rich Warren
June 15-July 16, 2004
For the second installment of the 2004 Shakespeare festival, HSC presents Shakespeare's most political oriented play and his final tragedy, following the story of man who questions everything that he has always held sacred and how he developed those beliefs. Following an arc that began with Hamlet, Shakespeare turned out tragedy after tragedy that explored volumes of the human psyche and experience, usually following doomed characters walking into dangerous situations or with dangerous people and growing to find out more about themselves. Caius Marcius, a Roman general born and bred for his post by his ambitious mother Volumnia, shares the accolades of his comrades and superiors during Rome's civil war, but can find no such glory in the peace that follows. Trying to find a new place in politics, Marcius is appointed to represent the common people, the Plebeians. A group he openly despises and considers inferior. Though he briefly returns to the battlefield to fight the Plebeian like army, the Volscians, where he gains the battlefield name 'Coriolanus', he cannot seem to win over the lower class at home, his superiors or his power hungry mother. A blunt solider lost in a sea of political opportunists, Marcius is at the mercy of those more savvy then he is and soon these men to control the Plebeians and consolidate their own power, turn the city of Rome against him and cast him out. His own mother, who was always his example, turns against him as well. Now betrayed and stripped of everything he ever knew, Marcius holds on to the only thing he can, his sense of being a warrior with the type of people that once despised, the Volscians. However, even here, Marcius finds the same level of betrayal and political self serving with their leader Aufidius.
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Rich Warren as Coriolanus in the play's early battle for the capital of Rome's enemy. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
After putting down a small peasant up rising over the price of grain, the career senator Menenius brings his protoge Marcius up to speed on the events of the riot. Marcius in turns mentions a political change where the people have been granted representation called Tribunes. A development neither of the privileged men like, especially Marcius. Ellsworth Park, Union City, NJ
Rome's perennial enemy, the Volscians and their shrewd General Aufidius are about to attack. Marcius' commanders Cominius (Cedric Hill, center right) and Titus (Freeman Borden) arrive with the senator (Michelle Doucet) to gather Marcius and his forces to mount a preemptive strike. Kenilworth Borough Hall, Kenilworth, New Jersey
Years before the rise of the Roman Empire, the city struggles to become a democratic republic. The citizens of Rome are disgruntled and mistrustful of the patrician Senate. Famine grips the populace and after years of war they seek representation to set a fair price for the limited food supply. Marcius holds the rabble in contempt and considers them beneath him and his class. He draws the ire of the plebes by calling them cowards. However, Marcius is Rome's best general, and when the neighboring Volscians wage war upon Rome, Marcius takes their capital, Corioli, single-handedly. In honor of his accomplishment he is given the new name of Coriolanus; Tullus Aufidius, the Volscian general, vows to avenge the defeat.
As Marcius goes to fight the enemies outside of Rome, inside the gates new enemies arise as the people's tribunes, Brutus (Rachel Wahl, left) and Sicinius (Lyndsay Becker) worry about the rising power of Rome's favorite war hero and plot to make sure there new found positions are kept safe. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
A worried wife Virgilia (Tiffany Clementi) confides her fear for Marcius' safety to her mother-in-law Volumnia (Amanda Ifrah). However, being cut of the same war like cloth as her son, Volumnia steals Virgilia against her fears and relishes the wounds and honors that will befell her son. Shipyard Park, Hoboken, NJ
Marcius is given a great welcome back in Rome for his victory, and the Senate wishes to make him a consul. Volumnia, his mother, is the most significant figure in Marcius' life. As a woman, she lacks the ability to achieve power on her own in the male-dominated Roman society; she also lacks a husband through whom she might indirectly enjoy public clout. Thus, Volumnia raises her son to be a great soldier, and it is her ambition, more than his, that puts him on the disastrous track toward the consulship. However, he must have popular support to be elected to this position, and two tribunes, Brutus and Sicinius, conspire to reverse the plebes' opinion on him. In turn, Marcius denounces the tribunes, even saying that the office itself should be abolished. Though Volumnia attempts to soothe him, but when confronted with the tribunes in front of the people, their insults and accusations are too much for the proud warrior. His temper earns him banishment. Marcius angrily travels to Antium and to his enemy Aufidius.
As the bloody battle for the Volscian capital comes to an end, the two generals and life long enemies Aufidius (Jonathan Brown) and Marcius (Rich Warren) face off one on one. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
The fight turns fiercer at Shipyard Park, Hoboken, NJ
With the capital taken, Marcius is honored with the winning the campaign. To commemorate the battle he is given the surname of Coriolanus. Ellsworth Park, NJ
A surprised Aufidius takes him in and promises to help him get revenge against his former city, but Aufidius uses his enemy for his own imperial ends. Aufidius is planning a new campaign against the Romans, and he welcomes Marcius' assistance, although he soon feels himself to be falling into his new ally's shadow. Their army proceeds to march on Rome, throwing the city into a panic--Rome's armies are helpless to stop the advance, and soon Aufidius and Marcius are encamped outside the city walls. Two of his oldest friends come pleading for mercy, but Marcius refuses to hear him. It is only when Volumnia, a woman who he has only seen spout war and duty asks him pleadingly to spare the city does Marcius begin to let go of his anger. Once again he follows example and seeks a treaty with Rome instead of conquest. The city hails Volumnia the savior of the city. Meanwhile, Marcius and the Volscians return to Antium, where the residents hail Marcius as a hero. Aufidius, disgusted with the failed campaign and growing jealous of this man who he propped up, declares that Marcius's a traitor. His failure to take Rome amounts to treachery; in the ensuing argument, some of Aufidius' men assassinate Marcius. Marcius realized too late to think outside of the political leanings of either the Romans or Volscians and it costs him his life.
A proud mother and wife welcome Rome's favorite son home. As his upwardly mobile mother calls for him to capitalize on his success and pursue the political office of Roman Counsul. a speaker of the house type of position, the Tribunes (up left) put their plan into motion. Kenilworth Borough Hall, Kenilworth, NJ
Virgilia (Katherine Boynton) looks sadly on the happy homecoming with an anticipated dread that darker days are to follow her and her husband. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
The tribunes Brutus (Rachel Wahl, left) and Sicinius (Lyndsay Becker) bind their time and tongues during the political rally that nominates Marcius for the position of council. His campaign for the people approval follows. Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
Marcius sheds his accustomed military uniform for a humiliating civilian suit to campaign for his new position with the citizens (left to right Emily Ray, Nicholle Hart, and Nicole Clavell). Ellsworth Park, Union City, NJ
Striving for the winning vote with the last citizen (Zack Symons), Marcius (Rich Warren) bites his lip to speak and associate with the people whom he openly despises but his supporters want him to win over. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
As the citizens grant Marcius the nomination, the Tribunes plan takes action. Using his open hate for them against them, the Tribunes spur their passion to denounce Marcius as a threat to them and Rome. On his way to the final acceptance of the position, Marcius and his supporters are stopped by the Tribunes and accused of being traitorous. Marcius openly denounces and storms home. Ellsworth Park, Union City, NJ
At home, the enraged Marcius (Rich Warren) won't return to face this uncivilized rabble, not until he is convinced by his steely and shrewd mother (Amanda Ifrah). Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ
Forced by his mother to return to the market place and face the tribunes and citizens, Marcius puts his pride aside to address the crowd. The crafty Tribunes waste no time in spurring the mob to their side and no time at all, yesterday's hero, becomes today's enemy. Lovell Room, Stratford Library, Stratford, CT.
Ever the warrior, Marcius challenges the crowd to take him on. Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ
And finally he banishes them, leaving the ungrateful masses to whatever enemies want them. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
A protective mother Volumnia (Amanda Ifrah) takes what little revenge she can against the Tribunes after Marcius has been banished. Lovell Room, Stratford Library, Stratford, CT.
With no where to turn Marcius, goes to the city of Antium, to the home of his life long enemy Aufidius. To serve and with his help get revenge against his home city. Pier A Park, Hoboken, NJ
Placing his life in his enemy's hands, Aufidius (Jonathan Brown) offers a little payback but accepts Marcius into his home and the two plan their new military campaign. Shipyard Park, Hoboken, NJ
The "servants" of Aufidius (Emily Ray, Nicholle Hart, and Nicole Clavell) discuss the meaning of Marcius arrival and how their general will loose prestige as a result. Pier A Park, Hoboken, NJ
News of the new Marcius/Aufidius alliance arrives back in Rome as the pair mount a campain against a Roman territory. The commander Cominius (Cedric Hill) and Senator Menenius (Tim Baird) confront the Tribunes with the responsibility of having brought this new menace on the city. Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ
On the eve of their final attack on Rome. The two generals are interrupted by the arrival of Volumnia and Virgilia. Volumnia (Amanda Ifrah) uses her manipulative charms to stop her son from attacking. Aufidius sees his dreams of conquest slipping away and his reputation tarnished for trusting Marcius. Shipyard Park, Hoboken, NJ
Getting his revenge, Aufidius (Jonathan Brown) plots to kill Marcius with three conspirators. Ellsworth Park, Union City, NJ
After cornering and strangling his victim, Aufidius laments his choice to take Marcius life. Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ
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