TITUS ANDRONICUS: THE STAGING OF SHAKESPEARE’S GORIEST PLAY Public Deposited
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For years, Shakespeare’s most debated tragedy, Titus Andronicus has been bashed or dismissed by critics. “No detail of physical horror is spared; from beginning to end the stage reeks with blood, and the characters vie with one another in barbarity.” However, the questions arise: Can such a violent play be performed today? And how has it been staged in the past? There is no doubt that staging the play has its difficulties. The theatricality of Titus can pose a number of problems. Although the play is very theatrical, the violence has been interpreted several ways throughout the years. Today it seems that, to an extent, we as an audience expect deeds of violence from a tragedy. The word “tragedy” ignites images of violence and despair. Jonathan Bate’s assertion that, Titus Andronicus is “in fact complicated and sophisticated – and that it ought to be widely read and more frequently performed” may be correct.