The bard’s Titus retold as fairytale
Game of Thrones and Quentin Tarantino owe William Shakespeare big time.
That’s according to young Palmerston North theatre director Aaron McLean, who is putting together a production of Shakespeare’s goriest play Titus Andronicus. ’’There are 14 deaths, nine of them onstage, a double rape and cannibalism. It’s been called Shakespeare’s Tarantino moment.’’
There are also mutilations and disfigurements. It’s an all-out blood feud.
McLean said he doesn’t watch Game of Thrones but that scene in season six when Arya Stark had the two Frey boys baked in a pie, was straight out of Titus. ‘‘I wanted to see if there was more to the play than simply gratuitous violence. It’s a powerful tragedy of a man who gives up everything for his country, and is ruined for it.’’
The play explores the impact violence has on people and what happens when they dehumanise their enemies instead of regarding them as human beings. Patriotism, duty, honour and tradition manage to supersede all notions of decency and humanity. ‘‘There is a growing realisation during the play by its characters that everything they were brought up to believe is wrong.’’
Titus is a fictitious Roman general and honoured hero who was offered the imperial purple, but refused it. It is all downhill for him and his family from there.
The costumes are to be based around animal motifs as befitting the somewhat visceral nature of a play that also involves Goths.
Defeated after 10 years of war by Titus, the Goth queen Tamora lives to wreak vengeful havoc. ‘‘I want it to be dark like the original Grimm’s fairytales.’’
The title role is played by Bruce Sinclair, with Jackie McKenzie as the lascivious Tamora.
Titus Andronicus is on in The Dark Room for six 7.30pm performances over two weeks from Thursday until Saturday, August 12.
Miriam Tucker and Aaron McLean from the Dark Room production of Titus Andronicus.