Anyone who likes a lot of revenge, should see Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. There is not just an awful lot of revenge but it does highlight the stupidity of it.
Today was a Weasel outing to the Globe and, having read the delightful synopsis of Titus, I was thoroughly looking forward to it. Unlike most of his plays, Titus is all made up. And it’s easy to see why. I know the Romans were a bit nasty and cruel but this took it to a new low.
In short…Titus returns to Rome after a victory over the Goths. He brings back with him, Tamora, queen of the Goths and three of her sons, in chains. Despite her pleas, he kills her eldest son in revenge for the death of his own in the battle. And that’s what kicks it all off. She manages to marry newly elected Emperor Saturninus, giving her the perfect opportunity to have Titus’s family decimated. Tamora’s sons rape his daughter, Lavinia then cut out her tongue so she can’t talk about who did it and cut off her hands so she can’t write it down. They then frame her brothers after killing her husband, Bassianus.
Meanwhile, Tamora has a major fling with Aaron, the Moor, gets pregnant and has a half-caste baby. This means the nurse and mid-wife have to be killed so Aaron can escape with the baby. Aaron isn’t very nice. He tricks Titus into cutting off his hand and sending it to the emperor in return for his framed sons.
It all gets a bit silly when Tamora and her two sons disguise themselves as furies in order to kill Lucius, Titus’ final son but Titus sees through their pitiful disguises, sends Tamora away and slits the throats of her sons. He then makes a pie using her sons as the meat. He feeds the pie to Tamora before telling her. He then kills his daughter then Tamora. This makes the Emperor a bit mad and so he kills Titus. As the final bit of revenge, Lucius kills the Emperor and is made Emperor in his place.
Needless to say, there was a lot of blood and some gratuitous violence. I reckon Shakespeare just wanted to make a Tarantino styled play. He succeeded.
The performance was terrific. It’s important to play such foul characters with great relish and delight, something the cast did beautifully. Everyone was terrific but stand-outs were William Houston (Titus), Indira Varma (Tamora) and Obi Abili (Aaron).
As usual, we followed the Globe with a few beers in the George on The Strand. Another successful Weasel Outing.
PS: I feel I should add that while I took some brilliant photos, I left my card at the cottage…stupid Gaz.