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 Bill Alexander, for the RSC, and GaleEdwards, 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 It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script.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, Bill Alexander for the RSC in
2003, and GaleEdwards at the Washington, DC Shakespeare Theatre Company in 2007) tend
toward a restrained, dignified
of the pillars as an imperial motif see chapter 1 above.
79 John Webster, A Monvmental Colvmne, Erected to the liuing Memory of the
euer-glorious HENRY, late Prince of Wales (London, 1613), sig. B.
For the prince’s armour see Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales, plates 18–23. Henry is
depicted practising with the pike in the frontispiece to Drayton’s Poly-Olbion (1612).
1611–13 : The true Panthæon
81 The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The White Devil ran from 17
April to 5 October 1996, directed by GaleEdwards.
82 Mulryne, ‘“Here’s Unfortunate