You are looking at 11 - 15 of 15 items for
- Author: Alan Dessen x
- Refine by access: All content x
Peter Stein's Titus Andronicus production grew out of the 'Shakespeare Project', a series of seminars with students at the University of Rome's Teatro Ateneo, which featured exercises using the original text of the play. The longest-running major production in the stage history of Titus Andronicus, directed by Silviu Purcarete, originated at the National Theatre of Craiova. Like Stein, Purcarete also seized upon Titus's description of Rome as a 'wilderness of tigers' as the basis for his production's soundtrack, which 'consisted of disturbing, howling music intermixed with the predatory growls of tigers'. Of all the directors who attempted Titus in the decade following the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) landmark 1987 production, Purcarete most closely resembled Deborah Warner in his attitude toward the play's black comedy. Moreover, in contrast to Warner's full-text rendition, Purcarete 'ruthlessly cut' the original play to suit his political agenda.
Antony Sher and his partner and collaborator, director Gregory Doran agreed to conduct a workshop exchange with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg which eventually grew into a multi-ethnic and multinational production of Titus Andronicus. Doran's liberties with the text provoked little backlash in the press compared to his decision to have his actors speak in various South African accents. Some critics derided the Market Theatre production for its presentation of Tamora disguised as Revenge. South Africans are no strangers to real-life violence, and according to members of the Market Theatre cast such as Charlton George (Chiron), they often use 'humour to deal with the horror'. To the extent that Doran and Sher set in motion a lively discussion about art, violence, and race relations in contemporary South Africa, their production was a significant achievement.
Julie Taymor first directed Titus Andronicus with Theatre for a New Audience at St Clement's Church in New York City, a staging that cemented her reputation as a leading Shakespearean director. For Taymor, William Shakespeare's play on stage became a vehicle for commenting on the exploitation of violence as a form of entertainment in the contemporary world. Moving from a theatrical staging to film, Taymor relied more heavily on visual landscapes than on dialogue to convey the psychological torment of Titus and his progeny. As Taymor moved from stage to screen, she also modified many of the elements she borrowed from Jane Howell's realistic BBC-TV rendition. Like Peter Stein, Taymor mixed the ancient and the modern, with several aspects of set design, costumes, and music that evoked specific recent eras. Elliot Goldenthal's soundtrack for both the staging and the film also reflected Taymor's 'esthetic of temporal melange'.
Yukio Ninagawa's Japanese production exhibited the influence of Peter Brook's stylised technique, while both Bill Alexander, for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and Gale Edwards, for the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, DC, followed the realistic example set by Jane Howell. One of Yukio Ninagawa's formative theatrical experiences was attending 'Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which he saw performed in Tokyo in 1973, a year before he began to direct Shakespeare'. Richard Rose's Stratford, Ontario production, set in Fascist Italy, emulated the political approach established by Douglas Seale, and Lucy Bailey's production at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre resembled the darkly comic vision of Deborah Warner. Warner's 1987 version of Titus Andronicus for the RSC was so successful that it took sixteen years for the company to work up the courage to mount another production of the play.
Post-Restoration editors, reacting to the Titus Andronicus violent horrors and stylistic shortcomings tended to deny the existence of William Shakespeare's hand in the tragedy entirely. Towards the end of the twentieth-century, scholarly editions of the play began to account for some of the play's inadequacies by positing various strata of alterations. In contrast to late twentieth-century editors who blamed Shakespeare for sloppy revision of his own work, Brian Boyd exculpated Shakespeare by holding George Peele solely responsible for the irregularity created by his unsanctioned change of plan. Centuries of debate over the play's authorship culminated in the publication of Brian Vickers's Shakespeare, Co-Author, which sought to establish a new scholarly consensus about Shakespeare's collaboration with Peele in the tragedy's composition. The co-authorship studies of Vickers and Boyd may encourage directors to reconsider radically their assumptions about the text of Titus Andronicus and how it can be staged.