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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: November ::
Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2120  Monday, 20 November 2000.

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Nov 2000 14:17:07 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS

[2]     From:   Debra Murphy <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Nov 2000 08:55:33 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS

[3]     From:   Charles Weinstein <
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        Date:   Sunday, 19 Nov 2000 16:30:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2097 Julie Taymor's TITUS

[4]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Monday, November 20, 2000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Nov 2000 14:17:07 -0500
Subject: 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS

I saw the Taymor exhibition when it was in Columbus, OH, and recommend
it heartily to those living near Washington or planning a visit there
sometime soon.  As the Post review indicates, the pieces don't come
fully to life, of course, as they do, quite wonderfully, on the stage.
But they are beautiful and beguiling by themselves.  And the glimpses
the exhibition gives of this remarkable artist at work are informative
and appealing.  The Columbus show, by the way, featured "Fool's Fire" in
its entirety--fascinating.  If you ever have a chance to see it, do.

Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Debra Murphy <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Nov 2000 08:55:33 -0800
Subject: 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS

I have to agree that Taymor's TITUS is one of the best of Shakespearean
film adaptations.  The Bladerunner-meets-Fellini art direction worked
for me, but then I'm partial to that sort of mix-n-match style, not only
as a way to express universality, but also, and more specifically, as a
way to convey the idea that we smug moderns/postmoderns, who have
willy-nilly imbibed notions of historical and moral "progress", are not
as far removed from the brutal realities of pagan Rome as we might wish
to think.

As for the opening martial choreography, I was literally stunned,
thought it one of the best film openings of any sort I'd ever seen.  It
almost gave me nightmares, as a matter of fact.  It was to me a most
eloquent visual way of screaming, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas
anymore!"

Yours,
Debra Murphy

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http://www.bardolatry.com

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Sunday, 19 Nov 2000 16:30:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 11.2097 Julie Taymor's TITUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2097 Julie Taymor's TITUS

Taymor's film bored me, and its details are fast receding into
oblivion.  There is no horror in it, only decor.  Like most "advanced"
directors, Taymor concentrates on production design rather than
dynamics, sets and costumes rather than character and conflict, things
rather than people.  The result is the postmodern equivalent of the
19th-century theatre's pictorialism: cluttered yet empty, painstaking
yet futile, overstuffed yet dull.

Taymor is a puppeteer rather than a director.  Thus, it comes as no
surprise that the acting in Titus is inadequate. Anthony Hopkins, an
epigone of Richard Burton, is no more capable of significant emotion
than his precursor.  Charismatic containment broken by spasms of
unpersuasive rant did not make Burton a great Shakespearean, and has
done nothing for Hopkins either.  Jessica Lange delivers her customary
skim-milk performance; the player of Aaron picks his way uneasily
through the language like an amateur; Colm Feore (Canada's idea of a
major classical actor) does nothing with his apostrophe to Lavinia; and
Alan Cumming is not convincing as either a heterosexual or a bisexual.

Taymor's film is no different in kind from the tinsel rubbish purveyed
on both sides of the Atlantic during the past 15 years by the likes of
Andrei Serban, Adrian Noble and other window-dressers masquerading as
humanists. Those who wish to know what a truly frightening Titus is like
should listen to Lavinia's abduction on the 1965 Caedmon recording.
Without any visual dimension whatsoever, the unrelenting savagery of
Maxine Audley's Tamora and the tear-streaked agonies of Judi Dench's
Lavinia freeze the blood, harrow up the soul and make the hair stand on
end as Taymor's chic, inhuman film never does.  A Titus without horror
is no Titus at all.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Monday, November 20, 2000
Subject: 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2110 Re: Julie Taymor's TITUS

For those who live in the Eastern United States and have access to the
Bravo channel, tonight, Monday, November 20, at 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
will be a Bravo Profile of Julie Taymor. People in other regions should
consult local listings.
 

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