Orangemites titus opens dover
The Andronici and the Goths face off in a deadly cycle of revenge in Titus Andronicus. OrangeMite Studios will perform the play July 18-20 and July 25-27 at The Barn at Tall Fir Acres in Dover. (Submitted)

It's an idyllic setting - tucked in the woods a rustic barn sits in the midst of a sprawling pasture.

But soon, the green blades of grass at The Barn at Tall Fir Acres will be tinged red with blood.

OK, the blood is fake. But the horror, OrangeMite's cast members hope, will feel real.

"People call it Shakespeare's horror movie," Collins Wilson said.

Wilson, who plays Demetrius, joins the cast of "Titus Andronicus," opening July 18 at The Barn at Tall Fir Acres in Dover.

The play follows a Roman general returning from victory against the Goth army. Titus Andronicus, played by Jeff Gilbert, has captured the Goths' queen and is keeping her and her sons as prisoners. When one of the queen's sons is executed as a tribute to the fallen sons of Andronicus, a deadly cycle of violence, revenge and brutality is incited.

"It's a bit more gruesome than most people are accustomed to in a Shakespeare play," Gilbert said.

Still, Wilson said, the savagery of the violence is cut by the beauty of the language and the setting.

"It is so extreme in so many aspects," he said. "You have these points where it's blank and dark and terrifying, but then there will be such a beautiful speech interspersed that makes it seem so surreal."

Wilson said the play - one of Shakespeare's earlier works - tends to be forgotten, but is a rare glimpse into the playwright trying to find his voice.

For Gilbert, one of the most interesting aspects of the play is its modern feel.

"It deals with some very difficult social lines - racism, violence against women - and searching for what's the difference between revenge and justice," he said. "That one-upsmanship - if somebody does something wrong I need to get justice for that - we're still trying to figure out, 'how do you break that cycle of violence?'"

"It's so intense. It's one of those plays that's like an action movie mixed with a horror movie," Wilson said. "It grabs you right at the start and rarely does it let go."

-Reach Amy Peiffer at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.

See the show

OrangeMite Studios will perform "Titus Andronicus" July 18-20 and July 25-27 at The Barn at Tall Fir Acres, 2035 Tall Fir Drive, Dover.

All performances are at 7 p.m. Because of violent content, parental discretion is advised.

Tickets: $8-$10. Information: (717) 814-1151 or www.orangemite.org.