Blood, mystery and more as festival hosts Shakespeare in the Bar

Valley Shakespeare Festival presented Titus Andronicus to a packed house Oct. 30 at Porky’s Café in Shelton as the second offering in its “Shakespeare in the Bar” series.

The cast was comprised of both local and out-of-town members. Local talent included Kristen Kingsley of Shelton, Tyler Huntley of Seymour and Matthew Catalano of Stratford.

Some audience members found themselves more immersed in the action than they may have anticipated as blood spatter, severed heads and body parts made their way into the laps

of unsuspecting innocent by-standers in the front rows.

About the cast

Jeremy Funke was the leading role of Titus Andronicus, playing the character who goes from celebrated war hero to betrayed patriot and father down into the abyss of murder and madness.

Funke’s nemesis Tamora was played by Lawren Teel Roulier. As the Queen of the Goths and new wife to Rome’s recently crowned and spoiled brat Emperor Saturninas (played by Tom Simonetti).

Jess Breda played the role of that daughter. Lavinia goes from a being young, carefree, recently betrothed girl to outcast and ultimately the victim of a vicious rape, who then has her tongue removed and hands severed to prevent her from revealing the identities of the perpetrators.

Raphael Masssie was Tamora’s true beloved Moor and party responsible for orchestrating all the brutal mayhem.

Adam Kezele, who played Demetrius, one of Tamora’s demented offspring, also served as the production’s fight champion, choreographing all of the fight scenes and designing and creating that surprisingly completely washable “blood.”

About VSF

Valley Shakespeare Festival is planning to present another Shakespeare in the Bar performance this coming March, but before then it will be reprising its holiday offering, a scripted dramatic reading of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.

The event is held in association with the Shelton Historical Society and will be presented at Shelton’s Plumb Memorial Library on Thursday, Dec. 4, and 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m. The Shelton Historical Society will host a reception at the Shelton History Center at 70 Ripton Road following the Saturday performance at which audience members may tour the society’s classic buildings and museum and meet and mingle with cast members.

The event is free with a suggested donation of $10. For more information on this and other upcoming events, contact Valley Shakespeare Festival at 203-513-9446 or visit the website at and follow on Facebook.

Valley Shakespeare Festival is a fiscally-sponsored, non-profit theater company dedicated to bringing free theater to the communities of the lower Naugatuck Valley.