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Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

New York Times reviewer (3 December 1956) found this rendition ‘for the most part a bloody bore’, but, as opposed to the ‘meaningless villainy’ of the other characters, did praise Roscoe Browne’s rendition of Aaron as a near burlesque fiend. Given the stage fortunes of this daunting script from Ravenscroft to the 1950s, more than a few eyebrows were raised in 1955 when Peter Brook (already a star director though only in his late twenties) spurned the offer to direct Macbeth at Stratford and chose instead to

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 It begins with Edward Ravenscroft's version that superseded Shakespeare's script.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

Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

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 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

in Titus Andronicus
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The Problem
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

believed for many generations and was only put to rest by a series of highly successful productions after the Second World War. Titus, in turn, had a landmark production in 1955 – directed by Peter Brook and starring Laurence Olivier – and has subsequently been produced with some regularity (at least compared to the previous 350 years). Similarly, since the 1960s sympathetic critics and editors have greatly enhanced our understanding of the play’s characters, images, and themes. As both academics and theatrical

in Titus Andronicus
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What price Titus?
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

’) so as not to provide a further source of amusement. As noted in Chapters I and II , to counter or sidestep this problem, some directors (most notably Gerald Freedman) have chosen to stylise some, many, or all scenes and to cut what they perceive to be risky passages or moments. So J. C. Trewin observes that Peter Brook (like Brian Bedford some twenty years later) manipulated his script ‘so that his actors could let fly without dread of mocking laughter’. As Trewin notes, ‘whenever he spied a possible laugh, he

in Titus Andronicus
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

predecessor, Lambermont and Mesguich modelled their productions on the stylised efforts of Peter Brook, while Maggio cautiously imitated the realistic presentation of Jane Howell’s BBC-TV version. Owing in part to their preoccupation with the potentially offensive nature of the play’s violence, neither Lambermont nor Maggio achieved much critical success in their efforts, but Mesguich attained a notable triumph in his native France with his surreal and inventive production. Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival

in Titus Andronicus
Taking the measure of Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1972, 1978, 1982
Carol Chillington Rutter

partner and closest collaborator, the designer Christopher Morley, Nunn directed The Winter's Tale in what famously became known as the ‘white box season’. Built on the principle of ‘the empty space’ – a seminal notion borrowed from Peter Brook, whose book of that title was published the year before – the ‘permanent design condition’ for that season of late plays turned Brook's theory into practice to offer the stage as a sounding board for ‘ritual resonance’, ‘sacred resonance’. But by putting in view the stage's technical workings, the lighting rig and so on ‘in a

in Antony and Cleopatra
Nakedness and nudity in Barker’s drama
Eléonore Obis

R&G 07_Tonra 01 11/10/2013 16:15 Page 73 7 ‘Not nude but naked’: nakedness and nudity in Barker’s drama Eléonore Obis The theatre is, etymologically, what makes us see; more precisely, the theatre exposes what is usually hidden. In Peter Brook’s words, the theatre makes visible the invisible.1 In this sense, the representation of the naked body is highly theatrical: the stage can reveal the body without clothes in public, although society, conventions and morals forbid it in ‘real life’.The naked body is a leitmotiv in Barker’s plays. It is a crucial moment of

in Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre
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Deborah Warner at the Swan
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

changes. Starting with Peter Brook in 1955, directors have found that one way to bridge the many gaps between the 1590s and today (or to ‘translate’ Titus into our idiom) is to omit from the playing script those passages or moments that are deemed unplayable or flawed. In her television rendition Jane Howell does very little cutting or reshaping (a major transposition in 1.1, translation of some Latin), but most stage productions involve substantial cuts. For example, Brook cut about 650 lines; Brian Bedford made equally

in Titus Andronicus
Angela Carter’s marionette theatre
Marie Mulvey-Roberts

British theatre as ‘undead’ echoes Peter Brook, who, in his seminal work of dramatic theory published a decade previously, The Empty Space (1968), draws distinctions between deadly, rough, holy and immediate theatre. Brook argues that these are not watertight categories but moments that co-exist, even within the same work. The deadly theatre – the theatre of cliché, predictability, formula – he compares to the ‘deadly bore’: one who operates ‘at the bottom instead of the top of his possibilities’ (2008: 45). According to Brook, although deadly theatre can be found

in The arts of Angela Carter