To stylise or not to stylise
in Titus Andronicus
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The 1955 triumph of the Peter Brook-Laurence Olivier Titus Andronicus demonstrated that William Shakespeare's script was, or could be, actable. By focusing on the mythic or ritualistic side of the tragedy, Gerald Freedman helped to bring Titus back into the circle of 'performable' Shakespeare plays. To invoke images of Fascism when staging one of Shakespeare's Roman plays was not 'new' in 1967, but Douglas Seale may have been the first to present a Fascist Titus. A different set of choices and a different approach to 'realism' are provided by the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Titus with all shows directed by Trevor Nunn. Jane Howell rejected the stylised effects familiar in other productions. The productions directed by Freedman, Laird Williamson, Pat Patton, and Paul Barry show one line of descent from Brook in the choice to stylise some or many of the elements in the script.


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