A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance, 1970–1990 pp 1719-1736 | Cite as
Titus may not be a reflection of much that is common in the lives of most people, but it is definitely good theater. Randy Kim, magnificently playing Titus, said, “people have fainted at the performances. They have left when the heads were brought in. It’s incredible. I didn’t think that the theater could do that.” One theatergoer complained in disgust about “this crude play, appropriate for viewing by a board of pathologists,” and suggested that it be X-rated. Titus has been effectively staged by divorcing the characters from all vestiges of humanity: “Rome is but a wilderness of tigers” (III.i.54). Played in this fashion it can be an interesting tour de force in brutality. Feidner, though, tried to make his characters as human as possible. In the first scene Jeanne de Baer’s Tamora is both proud queen disdainful of her captors and anguish-ridden woman pleading for the life of her son. Later, Titus and Marcus (Rob Evan Collins) clasp and weep at the death of Titus’ son and thereby sacrifice their Roman majesty to a more compelling humanity. Aaron (Maxim Mazumdar) is most of the time a controlling “incarnated devil” (V.i.40), as in his chilling incitement of Demetrius (Patrick Barrett) and Chiron (Thomas Shane Barrett) to murder and rape. But he is also convincingly human in his richly sexual relationship with Tamora and his defense of his babe. Despite the terrible intensity of the play with its almost unrelenting procession of horrors, Feidner managed a varying pitch with well-played single scenes such as the poetic meeting of Tamora and Aaron in the forest … (II.iii.10-ll). The “fly” scene (III.ii) likewise was a welcome modulation of the encompassing tone of horror as Randy Kim expertly milked every possible bit of macabre high comedy from it.
KeywordsExcellent Cast Unrelenting Procession Pure Malice Funeral Procession Roman General
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