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Oakland Theater Project Brings Blood & Corpses to The Stage

Updated: Sep 21, 2023 10:05
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A clown pulls himself through a pile of corpses. He’s just escaped the gallows by offering his janitorial services. It’s his lucky day? Welcome to Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus at The Oakland Theater Project. Blood, corpses, disgruntled maids and a very healthy dose of camp await you. Oh! And did I mention the oscillating penis puppets? Yes, there will be some of that as well.

Matt Standley as Janis. Photo Credit Ben Krantz Studio

“Titus Andronicus” is easily one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedies. It begins with the Roman general Titus Andronicus returning home from war with four prisoners. As a result of not appreciating their incarceration, the four vow to take revenge. From there they rape and mutilate Titus’ daughter and banish and kill his sons. Titus kills two of them and cooks them into a pie to serve to their mother…and then he kills her too. The Roman Emperor kills Titus and Titus’ last remaining son kills the emperor and takes his place. Ok, we are now caught up enough to explain why Gary (Jomar Tagatac) the clown came to be sitting with the corpses.

Jomar Tagatac as Gary. Photo Credit Ben Krantz Studio.

Written by the legendary Taylor Mac and directed by Emilie Whelan, this 2019 Broadway hit takes us through the highly improbable yet deeply thoughtful journey of Gary and Janis the maid (Matt Standley). Janis petulantly shows us how to de-gas a corpse. This is not her first rodeo and it shows. Both characters question their lot in life in turns. Janis just wants to get the job done but Gary is brimming with optimism. He hopes to promote himself from street clown to fool. A fool and his art have the ability to change the world with well chosen words do they not?

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In this maximalist comedy the two characters left standing in a room full of the dead question the patriarchy. They try on the clothes and attitude of the ruling class. Is it not their privilege to bury the wealthy? Fear of the unknown draws them back to work. It is foolish to dream. A third character interrupts the pair’s musings in the form of Carol (Regina Morones). She’s a midwife who’s throat was carelessly slit. Death did not stick.

Regina Morones and Jomar Tagatac . Photo Credit Ben Krantz Studio

Gary is hilarious and it is monstrous. It is a messy, flawed and interesting take on what get’s left after the one percent has destroyed themselves. “By taking the most gruesome Shakespeare tragedy as source material, Gary reckons with how we can transform the unredeemable mess of our world into something beautiful,” said OTP Co-Artistic Director Michael Socrates Moran. “At once a critique of the massacres wrought throughout world history and a paean to the power of theatre and its ability to inspire hope, this comedy is transgressive, fun, hilarious and extraordinarily gentle.”

Oakland Theater Project Tickets: $10–55 at, by calling (510) 646-1126, emailing, or at purchase at the door.

Livestream tickets: $1535 onlinetickets at

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Vita Hewitt

Vita Hewitt

Vita is a half Chinese-Malaysian, photograph taking, plant foraging, vegetable garden growing, astronaut impersonating, conceptual art creating Bay Area human. She loves exploring the intricacies of the Bay Area Art Scene.