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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 It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script.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.

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Dramatisations of ‘return’
Geraldine Cousin

linear narrative has been seen as the source of the play’s effectiveness from the time of the first production. On 29 August 1937, for example, in his Observer review, Ivor Brown described the second act as ‘dramatically brilliant’. Reviewing a production of the play at Manchester’s Royal Exchange in 1973, Irving Wardle praised the play’s 20 Playing for time ‘immensely accomplished’ structure (The Times, 29.12.73). In 2001, Jeremy Kingston wrote of the current Royal Exchange production, ‘the third act takes us to the ominous end of [Kay’s] birthday party. But we

in Playing for time
Taking the measure of Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1972, 1978, 1982
Carol Chillington Rutter

’ treatment placed above the credits (so to speak) as an over-determining prologue (Benedict Nightingale, New Statesman , 21 April 1972). They'd always been dubious about its reference to the actual play scripted by Shakespeare. Irving Wardle, for one, noted that the plebs who appear in Shakespeare's ‘own first scene’ wouldn't stand for a moment the contemptuous kicking delivered by Cominius et al. , being ‘anything but cowed by their betters’ ( The Times , 12 April 1972). And what was to be understood, given the aftermath of Shakespeare's opening scene, by Brutus

in Antony and Cleopatra
Peter Hall, Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, 1987
Carol Chillington Rutter

’. ‘Wrestling’ as she mocks him with hearing the ambassadors, ‘Antony turns Cleo over and now kneels astride her. The “court” enjoys all the horseplay, encircling and encouraging. The Romans s[tage] r[ight] look on disdainfully’, stunned into silence by the ‘paroxysms of lascivious giggles’ they're hearing (Irving Wardle, The Times , 11 April 1987). Then, the messengers’ attempts to interrupt cut off by ‘Speak not to us’ (1.1.56) ‘the entire court’ exit ‘swiftly u[p]/s[tage] doors’. Left alone, the two Romans ‘exit separate ways’. The management of this

in Antony and Cleopatra
John Izod, Karl Magee, Kathryn Hannan, and Isabelle Gourdin-Sangouard

Anderson had previous experience in creating a monumental, worthy victim of calamity from directing Max Frisch’s The Fire Raisers at the Royal Court Theatre in December 1961. Irving Wardle summarised thus the absurdist Brechtian drama: The ironically named hero, Biedermann (‘honest man’) is a well-to-do suburbanite who has made a fortune out of hair oil by

in Lindsay Anderson
Geraldine Cousin

reality’, while Irving Wardle in the Independent on Sunday (30.1.94) described the supposedly ‘magical language’ as ‘a flop’. The ‘punning sentence mutation’ reminded him, not of James Joyce, to whom some reviewers had referred, but of Stanley Unwin. The most entertaining, and perhaps perceptive, review was by John Peter in the Sunday Times of 6 February 1994. Apparently taking as his model Brecht’s Messingkauf Dialogues, Peter cast his review in the form of a conversation between a Reader and a Critic. ‘You seem bemused. Not your usual cocksure self’, the Reader begins

in Playing for time
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

difficulty walking upright (unlike Vivien Leigh’s elegant entrance in a white gown in 1955). In the terms of a less than sympathetic Jeremy Kingston ( Punch , 25 October 1972), Nunn played ‘all this beastliness for naturalism’, but a more appreciative Irving Wardle found that the director, for the most part, had succeeded in staging the play’s horrors ‘without relapsing into monotony or unintended farce’ by having Titus hit ‘as if with hammer blows’ by the events ( The Times , 13 October 1972). Some of Nunn’s most

in Titus Andronicus
The 1984–85 NT Coriolanus
Robert Ormsby

to Hall’s past difficulty with labour unions in getting the South Bank complex built, Irving Wardle suggested that the play’s depiction of class strife ‘could almost be a revival of the National Theatre’s own history’ but that Hall ‘is no longer a director to underline any crude topical parallels’ ( The Times 17 December 1984). By contrast, Christopher Edwards disdained ‘the crude political

in Coriolanus
Bleak Moments
Tony Whitehead

shorthand. Scene after scene is played out virtually in full. The technique might appear theatrical rather than cinematic, which would hardly have been surprising given Leigh’s career up to this point – but in fact the effect is so uncompromised by the received dramatic conventions of either medium that critic Irving Wardle, reviewing the opening night of the Whitehead_01_Chps.indd 18 29/3/07 15:53:05 bleak moments 19 original theatre production, mistakenly thought that the actors were making it up as they went along, the hesitancy betraying an over-reliance on

in Mike Leigh
Author: Karen Fricker

This book explores the development of Robert Lepage’s distinctive approach to stage direction in the early (1984–94) and middle (1995–2008) stages of his career, arguing that globalisation had a defining effect in shaping his aesthetic and professional trajectory. It combines examination of Lepage’s theatremaking techniques with discussion of his work’s effects on audiences, calling on Lepage’s own statements as well as existing scholarship and critical response. In addition to globalisation theory, the book draws on cinema studies, queer theory, and theories of affect and reception. As such, it offers an unprecedented conceptual framework, drawing together what has previously been a scattered field of research. Each of six chapters treats a particular aspect of globalisation, using this as a means to explore one or more of Lepage’s productions. These aspects include the relationship of the local (in Lepage’s case, his background in Québec) to the global; the place of individual experience within global late modernity; the effects of screen media on human perception; the particular affect of ‘feeling global’; the place of branding in contemporary creative systems; and the relationship of creative industries to neoliberal economies. Making theatre global: Robert Lepage’s original stage productions will be of interest to scholars of contemporary theatre, advanced-level undergraduates with an interest in the application of theoretical approaches to theatrical creation and reception, and arts lovers keen for new perspectives on one of the most talked-about theatre artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.