The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0567 Friday, 24 March 2000.
Date: Wednesday, 22 Mar 2000 10:01:40 -0800
Subject: Titus Warning
I want to warn list members off the "film" Titus Andronicus now
available on video tape. It is not Julie Taymor's Titus, but a lurid
direct to video exploitation version of the play.
The main problem is that it is simply not competent. It is
incompetently acted, directed, edited, scored, costumed, and designed.
To put it another way, it is wholly misconceived.
Three of the lead actors are very bad actors, but that sets them apart
from the rest of the cast who can not act. It is on the level of
community theater. Strictly amateur. Violence is ALWAYS performed with
longs takes of maniacal cackling. Someone supposedly named Candy K.
Sweet is miscast as Tamora. I don't usually approve of reviewing actors
on their looks, but an actress playing Tamora should be physically
appealing to the emperor. The lardy Ms. Sweet is physically repulsive.
Aaron is played by a white man whose one physical characteristic is a
heavily cataracted eye, which he tends to peer through while closing the
other. I could go on and on, but I already have.
The special effects aren't special. Rubber hands look like rubber
hands. One of them is thrown to the ground and kind of bounces. Since
the film makers are trying to appeal to the gore fest audience, there
are plenty of opportunity for these effects, more than in the play.
As to dramaturgy, they mispronounce some words, and seem to think that
Clown means an actor in white make up. They are thoroughly clueless.
The music is an incessant, electronic hum that occasionally modulates
unmusically. At key moments it is briefly joined by percussion or a
harpsichord. Adding up all the seconds, I doubt there are 5 minutes
without the hum.
It is a travesty by any standards. Those in countries with the PAL
video format will be saved from the temptation of purchasing this
artifact. Those that have bought it will be relieved that the 6 minute
trailer threatened on the box is not on the tape. Sometimes false
advertising can be a blessing.
Richard Burt will want to take note, and I'll be interested to see if he
writes about it in a future book. The rest of us can take comfort that
this production is so incompetent that it has nothing to teach us about
the play. Nothing.
Mike "Thirty Bucks Down the Drain" Jensen