Act One: False Starts

The Taming of the Shrew begins with a false start, as the play as we know it (or as we THINK we know it) is actually a play-within-a-play (kinda).  In the two-scene “Induction,” a Christopher Sly is introduced, shown to be a drunk and one who doesn’t pay for his drinks to boot, and promptly passes out in the street.  He’s found by an unnamed lord, who thinks it would be a great practical joke to take the unconscious Sly, set him up in the lord’s own manor, and see what happens when he wakes up not as Christopher Sly but a wealthy lord.

Some wackiness ensues as Sly does wake, does begin to think himself a rich man, and does begin to watch a play… our play.
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Attend the Tale of Bill Walthall (or Sweeney Todd, or Titus Andronicus)

As we end the bloodbath that is Titus Andronicus, as we end our second month of our three-year journey, I want to thank all of you.
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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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(the not so digital) Tools of the Trade

As I go through this blogging exercise, I find myself going back to the same handful of tools over and over again:
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Fathers and Sons (and Mother and Sons… and Father and Daughter)

A little over a week ago, we discussed the concept of brotherhood in Titus Andronicus (to no real conclusion, if memory serves).  Today, let’s take a look at another kind of familial relationship: parent and child.
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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

Race Tract (or “Convenient but Not Conventional”)

There are three races depicted in Titus Andronicus: the Romans, the Goths, and a Moor.
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