Saturday, March 19, 2011

Titus Andronicus Act 2, Scenes 1 & 2


i got to see A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight at Orlando Shakespeare Theater! it was exciting to see Shakespeare moved out of its time period, but in a way that feels justified and fun. i feel like i often see the trap of setting Shakespeare in a different and distinct time and/or place just... to do it. just because. i can't stand that. it feels like a gimmick. but when done in a way that feels like it brings something new, exciting, and justified to the play, it's exciting to see Shakespeare done in a 'non-traditional' way. so kudos to OST. tonight was a lot of fun!

speaking of fun, this play is insane! truly insane. here goes:

act 2, scene 1
Aaron (the Moor) reveals that he has been Tamora's lover, and that he intends to continue to do so. Demetrius and Chiron, Tamora's sons, enter fighting over Lavinia. they are both 'in love' with her. they're about to duel each other over it when Aaron interrupts them. Aaron tells them not to fight over a women they can't have anyway, since she is with Bassianus. they tell him they don't care about Bassianus, they will woo her anyway, and just date her on the side. (see quote below.) then Aaron suggests that they don't really need to woo her, they can just have sex with her. they can just share her instead of fighting over her. he tells them to jump her in the woods and have their fill of her.

act 2, scene 2
everyone is up and ready for a hunt, Titus helping Saturninus. Demetrius and Chiron will use this opportunity to get to Lavinia.

ummmm... what?!?! right? Aaron has this line- 'take this of me: Lucrece was not more chaste/ than this Lavinia, Bassianus' love.' i'm glad i read The Rape of Lucrece, so i know the reference. in that poem, Lucrece is alone at home while her husband is off in the army. a man named Tarquin, who is a high ranking officer in the army, goes to Lucrece saying that he needs a place to stay for the night. it is proper etiquette for her to say yes. he falls in love with her because she is so good and pure. in the middle of the night he rapes her, because that is the only way he can have her. it's disturbing/intriguing to me, the idea that if a woman is too good to cheat on her husband, but you want to have sex with her, you just rape her so you can have her anyway. nuts! funny that Aaron leaves off the end of that story. Tarquin ends up completely ruined. he is banished from the city. but i guess they don't want to think that far in advance. they just want her now. but the real question is... does anyone NOT want Lavinia? Saturninus, Bassianus, Chiron, Demetrius, and who knows who else. what will happen to this poor girl? i hope she doesn't end up like Lucrece, who is so ashamed that she kills herself. we will find out soon!

i also see a parallel with Richard III, with the way he treats Anne. even the quote of the day below makes me think of Richard's line 'was ever a woman in this humor wooed?' there's a cocky presumptuousness there that is so over the top. were things really like that? or is Shakespeare exaggerating to make these men more clearly villains?

so much deception building up from all sides! what will happen next?!?!?

quote of the day:
'she is a woman, therefore may be wooed;
she is a woman, therefore may be won;
she is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.'
   -Demetrius; act 2, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 2, scene 3

-rebecca may


  1. Oh! I am having difficulty restraining the Disclosure Queen part of myself sufficiently to avoid dishing out the spoilers to you. You'll find out why soon enough.

    I will distract myself by discussing other subjects. Apart from the obvious Theater of Cruelty aspects of this play, it earns my love by providing one of the few opportunities for a brother to perform Shakespeare without the benefit of non-traditional casting and creative restagings. In fact, Ranney was set to play Aaron in the 2002 Jobsite Theater production of TITUS ANDRONICUS, but he had to email back to Tampa from Edinburgh that he would not be able to do it, because THE BOMB-ITTY had dates scheduled in San Francisco for that fall.

    As it turned out, that California run fell through, but everything works out some way. Ranney was able to spend time with his dying father. Addionally, although I would have relished watching my sexy black man dominate the stage with delicious defiance, he and I cherish the experience of seeing the role portrayed by our dear friend, Ize Ofrika (RIP since 5/10/04). And the Tampa Bay area theatre community enjoyed another opportunity to know the Ofrikan, apart from his appearances in August Wilson plays and spoken word engagements.

    Also, we had no way of knowing that Mark Trent, who played Demetrius, would die tragically, a short thirteen months after this show closed.

    Chris Holcom (husband of Jaime Giangrande-Holcom) played Chiron.

    SPOILER ALERT: The following link reveals plot elements in the summary of the play:

  2. thanks Susan! i am really enjoying this play!

  3. Hmmm, should I tell you now that Lavinia is a mega-metaphor for Rome? It's not a spoiler, so what the hey...Lavinia is Rome. She is metaphorically the land to be conquered, and she begins as chaste and pure, virginal and magnificent. Lucrece is also alluded to many times in the play. Actually the play is full of mythic allusions, moreso than any other (that I know of so far).