On Shakespeare

On Shakespeare

On Shakespeare

On Shakespeare

Excerpt

I am sitting in a cramped backstage space in Brisbane’s intimate Cremorne Theatre during a preview of Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome: A Shakespeare Commentary, by Heiner Müller. I’m having trouble writing because my right hand is swathed in bandages, having been ‘cut off’ by Aaron the Moor.

On stage a battle rages as members of the all-male cast fling bloodsoaked copies of Penguin Shakespeare at each other to the strains of a corny MGM fanfare from Demetrius and the Gladiators. Shortly I shall enter as mad Titus, wearing a chef’s hat and apron, banging a dinner gong and ladling helpings of blood from a big bucket into the cupped hands of my dinner guests in an obscene parody of Holy Communion. ‘Where are my sons?’ asks the empress Tamora, to which I reply, ‘You’ve just eaten them, you nigger’s whore… How tastes your scum?’

This is what you might call theatre in the raw. I’m curious to see how many people will walk out.

Titus is a co-production between Bell Shakespeare and the Queensland Theatre Company, and Michael Gow is directing in a way that reflects . . .

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