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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Blood in *Titus*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0243.  Saturday, 25 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Nicola Winstanley <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 1995 10:51:08 -0500
        Subj:   Titus and blood
 
(2)     From:   Sarah Cave <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 1995 11:40:35 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0242 Blood in Titus
 
(3)     From:   Cindy Moravec <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 1995 13:58:58 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0242 Blood in *Titus*
 
(4)     From:   David Knauer <
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        Date:   Saturday, 25 Mar 95 12:50:13 EST
        Subj:   Bloody _Titus_
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicola Winstanley <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 1995 10:51:08 -0500
Subject:        Titus and blood
 
Michael Field writes: "I recently came across the comment that Shakespeare
'didn't intend authentic portrayl of the most bloody scenes in *Titus
Andronicus*."  I would be very interested to know where this comment came from,
and how it is substantiated. Also, two related, but more general questions
(which may well have been discussed already, but I'm new to this!): is it
really possible to know what Shakespeare *intended*?  And even if it is, should
we aim to be faithful to this intention in performances today?
 
Nicola Winstanley
University of Toronto
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sarah Cave <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 1995 11:40:35 EST
Subject: 6.0242 Blood in Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0242 Blood in Titus
 
Mike--
 
Strangely enough, I recently played Lavinia in TITUS. I entered the stage
spattered with blood, with soaked bloody gauze covering my stumps, and holding
a mouthful of blood in until the moment Marcus bid me speak, at which point I
let it flow out all over my chin and my dress. It was always an incredible
shock to the audience (we had at least 2 people leave and one pass out during
the run), but I believe it brought the true horror of her ravagement home to
them. Likewise, there was blood on Titus' stump when his hand was lopped, and
we rigged an elaborate system to spew blood from Demetrius' neck as he hung by
his heels while Titus slashed his throat. It was a messy, grueling experience,
but I cannot imagine making the same impact without using blood.
 
Yours,

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cindy Moravec <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 1995 13:58:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0242 Blood in *Titus*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0242 Blood in *Titus*
 
In response to Michael Field's comments regarding *Titus* and the portrayal of
blood, I was always under the notion that the violent scenes in the play were
overdone so as to be a satire.  The fact that Lavinia's uncle is praising her
honey breath while she spews blood seems to underline that fact.
 
I have not see a production of *Titus*, but when I read the play, I always
imagine it as being a bit campy.
 
Cynthia Moravec
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Knauer <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 Mar 95 12:50:13 EST
Subject:        Bloody _Titus_
 
Michael Field asks about the probability of naturalistic gore in a
Shakespearean production of _Titus_. Although I don't think there is any direct
evidence of such in the text of _Titus_, there are plenty of other examples
from the theatre of the period. Henslowe's Diary mentions among its properties
a severed head, while Peele's 1589 _Battle of Alcazar_ has three characters
executed and disemboweled onstage using "3 violls of blood & a sheeps gather."
In his edition of _Titus_, Eugene Waith reprints a stunning scheme for
portraying a decapitation from Reginald Scot's _Discovery of Witchcraft_, 1584.
Amaze your friends.
 
David Knauer

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