All posts by Bill Walthall

After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English and a teaching credential, Bill Walthall returned to his hometown in Ventura County, California, to teach English and drama at Oxnard and Hueneme High Schools. Having spent a decade in the classroom, he took a year off to recharge his batteries, but was pulled into the private-sector rat race as a technology consultant. In the last handful of years, however, he has rekindled his passion for literature and education. He launched his blog, The Bill / Shakespeare Project, where he brings not only a fun, accessible yet still scholarly approach to a play-by-play analysis of Shakespeare’s works, but also the latest and greatest in Willy Shakespeare headlines every week in his “This Week in Shakespeare” podcast.

Podcast 10: Titus Andronicus Production Concepts

This week’s podcast includes a proposed casting for a production of  Titus Andronicus, as well as a couple of production concepts.  Also, our monthly casting contest.

Links:

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Bodies Stacked Like Cord Wood

first an apology: I’ve been thinking about this concept now for a couple of weeks… but I don’t have time to do the topic justice… the following blog entry begins promisingly, but it turns pretty scattershot pretty quickly… if I get a chance to edit this and make it better, I will.  But for now, it’s all I’ve got…

In Hamlet, we’re told that the flesh is heir to a thousand natural shocks.  But in Titus Andronicus, there are myriad un-natural ones, too.  Rape. Tongue cut out.  Hands cut off.  Men sacrificed.  Children killed then baked into pies and fed to their mother.  Villains buried chest deep and left to die.  It’s an existence filled with pain and distress.  How can man cause such pain to his fellow man? (and here, I’m talking about the characters, not Shakespeare)
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Titus by the numbers

Titus Andronicus:

  • 2522 total lines; shorter than average play, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 2777; average tragedy: 2890)
  • At 498 lines, I.1 is the longest opening scene in the Canon (of course, there’s only scene in the first act)
    • Act One: 498 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 590, average tragedy: 647)
    • Act Two: 524 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 568, average tragedy: 573)
    • Act Three: 385 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 576, average tragedy: 633)
    • Act Four: 545 lines; shorter than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 563, average tragedy: 555)
    • Act Five: 570 lines; longer than average, shorter than average tragedy (average play: 480, average tragedy: 465)
  • 35 lines of prose (only 1.39% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%])
  • 61 rhyming lines (only 2.42% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 20.10%])
  • 14 scenes; fewer than average (average play: 21; average tragedy: 23)
  • 15 Deaths are a result of the play
    • before the play: 21 of Titus’ sons (not sure how many coffins are brought in for this final trip)
    • on-stage: 9 (Mutius, Bassianus, Nurse, Chiron, Demetrius, Lavinia, Tamora, Titus, Saturninus)
    • off-stage: 5 (Alarbus, Quintus, Martius, the midwife [assumed], the Clown
    • after play: 1 Aaron

Podcast 09: Titus in Pop Culture

This week’s podcast includes a review of the BBC Titus Andronicus and Julie Taymor Titus DVDs, plus a discussion of the rock band Titus Andronicus from Glen Rock, NJ.
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Numbers: Midpoint (or, “Woe is me”… and not ironically, either)

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at Titus Andronicus.

There are 2522 total lines in the play (using our Pelican Shakespeare text, the ones we are using for the entire series).  The midpoint comes at line 239 of Act Three, Scene One.
Continue reading Numbers: Midpoint (or, “Woe is me”… and not ironically, either)