Titus Andronicus at CalShakes

I’ve fallen behind in blogging again and am just now catching up with a few things. Dave and I went to see Titus Andronicus at the California Shakespeare Festival a few weeks ago. I’d seen Titus twice before and wasn’t feeling any desire to see it again, but the play had a kickass cast, headed by James Carpenter as Titus and Stacy Ross as Tamara, and that was enough to get me wanting to see it.

The play was given an effective and creepy production. The director, thankfully, did not go all dour with the play, as some do with revenge plays of the period, and the horror alternated with scenes played for dark comedy — the dinner scene near the end of the play was a standout, with Tamara at first suspicious of the food and with trepidation taking the tiniest nibble at it, then finding it delicious and wolfing it down with gusto.

All in all it was an enjoyable roller coaster ride of a production, but it didn’t change for me the fact that the play is still Titus Andronicus and pretty shallow stuff, even for a revenge play. ‘Tis pity it’s by Shakespeare and thus gets dusted off more often than it needs to be, given its very limited merits, while there are so many other plays of the genre, most of them no worse and some of them quite a bit better, that I’ll probably never get to see staged even once.

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