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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: April ::
Re: *Titus*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0337.  Tuesday, 25 April 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Michael Field <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Apr 1995 09:56:17 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Titus
 
(2)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Apr 1995 14:37:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0332 Titus
 
(3)     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Monday, 24 Apr 95 18:06 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0335  Re: *Titus*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Field <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Apr 1995 09:56:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Titus
 
Jimmy Jung wonders worth *Titus Andronicus* is worth the time. I may take my
life in my hands here, but I think if he reads with certain--perhaps
unprovable--ideas in mind, he may well find the experience richly rewarding.
 
Among them:
 
--Titus was *probably* one of Shakespeare's first plays, written before he was
a shareholder, before he was known and respected as a playwright, before the
Globe was even built. Look carefully at how profoundly *theatrical* the play
is--not just in all the blood, but in how effectively the young playwright uses
the stage. Notice, for instance the skillful use of pomp and ceremony, the
processions that could dazzle the audience with costumes and props. See how he
grabs the audience by the lapels, as it were, from the first moment of the
first scene, with noisy, excited entrances from left, right and above. There is
also a wonderful scene in which actors shoot arrows from the stage out over the
heads of the audience and entirely beyond the limits of the theater (we
assume)--an astounding piece of theatricality.
 
--Titus, more than any other play, is closely associated with the Rose theater.
We believe it premiered there, we know it was a "hit" and played for many years
after. Luckily, some construction workers stumbled upon the Rose not long ago,
so we have more definitive archeological information about this theater than
any other. Read an article about it to get a sense of some of the things they
discovered--it will aid your understanding of the play.
 
--We even have a drawing of period costumes used in Titus--again, a rarity and
a fascinating insight into what the plays *may* have looked like. It dispels,
by the way, the innacurate but oft-quoted notion that Shakespeare's plays were
performed in Elizabethan costumes. They were performed in costumes inspired and
influenced by Elizabethan clothes and fashion, but they knew, apparently, what
a toga looked like.
 
--Blood, guts, insanity, treachery, and high-falutin rhetoric. What more could
you desire? Happy reading.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Apr 1995 14:37:44 -0400
Subject: 6.0332 Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0332 Titus
 
I would like to add to Bill Godshalk's brief defense of Titus that it has also
become more popular to perform, if anecdotal evidence be allowed.  I have seen
Titus performed twice--more than any other except the Tempest if I exclude
movie versions. Most recently, students at University of Virginia gave a vivid
and frightening performance.  I taught the play at the same time, and my
students seemed to like it.  I should point out to the original correspondant
that the article in the Washington Post was by resident (occasional) humorist,
Joel Achenbach.  The topic--even geniuses have bad days--was as much for humor
as insight
 
W. Russell Mayes, Jr.
Dept. of English
University of Virginia

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Apr 95 18:06 CDT
Subject: 6.0335  Re: *Titus*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0335  Re: *Titus*
 
Hooray for Bill Godshalk!!
 
We all spend a fair amount of our time reading his postings.   But he is right
about +Titus+ now being popular.  Right On!!
 

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