Well, Shakespeare had to start somewhere. But his journey took him so far that Titus seems like an unwanted child left behind, where fusty critics wish it would stay. But it won’t. Shakespeare’s audiences adored it; subsequent ones did not, until the sensational Laurence Olivier−Vivien Leigh revival of the 1950s put it firmly back on the stage. And there it has remained ever since, speaking directly to the chaotic world in which we live. The play is sometimes ranting and coarse, but it needs no apologies. Shakespeare had to write it to exorcise the prevailing dramatic furies of excess bloodshed and verbal bombast. And he did. Those pesky furies do not mar the poetic glories of the last acts of the play which dramatize so powerfully both Shakespeare’s meteoric evolution and the unendurable sufferings of Titus himself. Its infamous banquet scene (savory meat pies) and attending horrors are not to everyone’s taste, but: Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare!!!
Text: Titus Andronicus, Arden Shakespeare, 3rd series, edited by Jonathan Bate.
Stephen Bellon received an MA from the University of Southern California. He recently retired after a forty-year career in private high school education in the Los Angeles area where he taught history, theater, and literature with a focus on Shakespeare. He also studied opera production in Germany at the Wagner Festival under the direction of the composer’s granddaughter. His most recent course for RENESAN was “Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale” in Fall 2017.
This course is a two-Monday session:
Monday • March 19 • 1 to 3 p.m.
Monday • March 26 • 1 to 3 p.m.
$30 payable to RENESAN
This course is posted under the umbrella of the International Shakespeare Center, promoting all things Shakespeare in Santa Fe!