The play opens tonight at the University of Idaho and we talked to director Matthew Brumlow to find out about the violent and lesser-known classic.
Why you might be familiar with the play:
Brumlow: Its one of Shakespeares earliest plays and it was the most popular play at that time in terms of commercial success.
Why youve probably never seen it:
Brumlow: Its Shakespeares bloodiest and most brutal play. It wasnt done for many years because people thought it was sensational, unrealistic or too gruesome. Its being done a lot more now because people are realizing that the world actually is this brutal.
On Elizabethan theatrical trends and violence:
Brumlow: There was a popular form of theater called revenge tragedy. All of these followed a certain form, including the violence. People loved them because they were outrageous. A young Shakespeare who wanted to make a splash, and also pay the bills, says, Im going to write a revenge tragedy that outdoes all the other revenge tragedies. Im going to turn it up to 11.
Current examples of a revenge tragedy:
Brumlow: Kill Bill is a good example. Youve got one character who is like, Im going to get them all back.
But you say this is about more than just revenge?
Brumlow: Shakespeare didnt stop there, he started to explore the human condition -- why do people pursue vengeance and what is the cost to that?
Why you might want to see it:
Brumlow: This play puts up a rather blunt mirror and asks us to look at things we really dont want to look at. I see that if Im honest with myself, Im not too different from these people.
Yeah but Shakespeare?
Brumlow: Its hard to make Shakespeare make sense sometimes. But its the language of the soul in a lot of ways. Of all his plays, this ones not boring. Its gritty, real, raw, juicy. I think people will be surprised.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Titus Andronicus
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday, Saturday and Feb. 9-11, 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 12
WHERE: Hartung Theater, University of Idaho, Moscow
COST: $15/general admission, $10/seniors, UI faculty and staff, free for UI students; tickets available at the door or in advance at BookPeople or at (208) 885-6465
NOTE: This show contains violence, adult language and situations and is not recommended for children.