Fascist Italy, emulated the
political approach established by Douglas Seale, and LucyBailey’s production at
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre resembled the darkly comic vision of Deborah Warner.
Three of these five directors (Ninagawa, Edwards, and Rose) also took inspiration from
Taymor’s film, as evidenced by their focus, at the end of their productions, on the
relationship between Young Lucius and Aaron’s baby.
Ninagawa Company, Saitama, Japan, 2004,
2006 – Dir. Yukio Ninagawa
In 1995, Yoshiko Kawachi
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 It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script.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.
approach that eschews the play’s comic elements and
labours to avoid the laughter that sometimes accompanies the performance of the
text’s atrocities. Warner’s branch of the play’s stage history, which
conversely embraces the darkly comic undertones within the tragedy, has produced only one
direct descendant, LucyBailey’s 2006 production at Shakespeare’s Globe
And yet, some comic elements do occasionally reappear in the fourth line
of descent, which I am calling the ‘political’ approach. By associating
had spilled out of a Middle Eastern circus, and a wandering ghost of
Caesar which, accoutred as it was in the theatrical trappings of a
former age, seemed to be searching (unsuccessfully) for something fresh
or compelling. LucyBailey’s 2009 production at the Courtyard,
took a different tack on temporality, embracing a revisionist historical
perspective on Rome as recently championed by HBO
ferociously intelligent and gripping productions of the classics on
stage from Katie Mitchell, LucyBailey, Benedict Andrews and many other
directors’—to which list can now be added the stage
directors Robert Icke, Polly Findlay, Blanche Macintyre and indeed more.
As for the luminaries of