During the decade following the release of Julie
Taymor’s film, at least one major stage production of Titus Andronicus
represented each of the four lines of descent in the play’s performance history.
Yukio Ninagawa’s Japanese production exhibited the influence of Peter Brook’s
stylised technique, while both BillAlexander, for the RSC, and Gale Edwards, for the
Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, DC, followed the realistic example set by Jane Howell.
Richard Rose’s Stratford, Ontario production, set in
To look at the performance history of Titus Andronicus is to confront some provocative questions such as why has this play posed severe problems for generations of readers, critics, editors, actors, directors, and playgoers. The book examines twelve major theatrical productions and one film, on the play, that appeared in the years 1989-2009. It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script. Peter Brook chose to stylise or formalise many moments, and Deborah Warner's production worked with no cutting of the script. Every staging of Titus elicits comments about the daunting nature of the script. The book presents Irving Wardle's reactions on Trevor Nunn's 1972 rendition, and Stanley Wells's review of the Swan production. The densest concentration of such problems and anomalies, as perceived by today's directors, critics, and editors, comes in the final scene. The productions that opened in 1989, directed by Jeannette Lambermont, Daniel Mesguich, and Michael Maggio, cut and rearranged the text liberally, often in an attempt to avoid the laughter. During the period 1989-99, three major European directors, Peter Stein, Silviu Purcarete, and Gregory Doran, focused their attention on the ways in which the play can be made to comment on specific contemporary affairs. Julie Taymor's venture in 1994 combined stylization with the 'visceral reality' as a means to keep spectators off balance and continuously sensitive to the shocking brutality of the play's events. The book ends by discussing the efforts of Yukio Ninagaw, Bill Alexander, Gale Edwards, Richard Rose, and Lucy Bailey.
, and Yukio Ninagawa’s
revival for the RSC’s Complete Works Festival in 2006. Howell’s BBC version,
which Dessen calls ‘the most “realistic” of the productions surveyed
here’ (see p. 117 ), featured literal representations of the
text’s violence and a serious, tragic tone. Directors who follow in this vein
(Michael Maggio at the 1989 New York Shakespeare Festival, BillAlexander for the RSC in
2003, and Gale Edwards at the Washington, DC Shakespeare Theatre Company in 2007) tend
toward a restrained, dignified
’s assumed priority in the collaborative
composition of Titus , which affects not only the editorial choices made in scholarly
editions, but also the staging decisions made in theatrical productions based on such
editions. To explore this issue, I will concentrate on the productions of three recent
directors (Gregory Doran, Julie Taymor, and BillAlexander) who made strong performance
choices regarding Mutius, all influenced to some degree by claims about the composition of
the play in editions or other criticism that they
Nursing with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–39
return home see Jackson,
British Women and the SCW, chapter 6, and For us it was Heaven, chapters
56 Colin Williams, BillAlexander and John Gorman, Memorials of the Spanish
Civil War (Stroud, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1996), and Jackson, British
Women and the SCW, chapter 6.
57 PE, IWM 8398.
58 For more on this subject and the symbolic significance of the death of
Patience Edney, see Jackson, For us it was Heaven, chapters 16–17.
59 Patience Edney in Petra Lataster-Czisch, ‘Eigentlich rede ich nicht gern über
mich’ (Lebenserinnegungen von Frauen aus dem
The persistence of left-nationalism in post-war Wales
followed Cox’s lead.34 In 1952, to the surprise
of no one, the CPGB’s political committee were told that the campaign
‘certainly hasn’t caused a ripple in the broad Labour Movement in South
BillAlexander’s appointment as District Secretary in 1953 brought an
end to nationalist flirtation.36 Indicative of the change was the revision process
for the 1958 edition of the British Road to Socialism. Although the essence
of party policy remained the same, little developmental progress had been
made.37 The new edition drew Cox’s scorn for precisely this reason
there were six RSC productions of
The Taming of the Shrew between 1983 and 1995, but one
(Barry Kyle’s) actually opened in 1982, one (Di Trevis’s
of 1985) was a small-scale tour, and a third, BillAlexander’s
1992 production, was a remounting of his small-scale staging from
1990. Similarly there were also five productions of A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, but one, Bill
the visit, TNA KV 2 1384 252 Louis
Fischer to Katz, 24 November 1938.
177 Agence Espagne, 2 December 1937.
178 Time and Tide, 18 December 1937.
179 Agence Espagne, 5 December 1937. El Dia, 6 December 1937; El Sol, 7
180 Agence Espagne, 5 December 1937.
181 Fred Copeman, Reason in Revolt, London, 1948, p. 120. For the positive reaction of another British International Brigader to the visit, BillAlexander, British Volunteer for Liberty: Spain 1936–39, London, 1986,
p. 136. In the International Brigade newspaper, Volunteer for Liberty, 26