Bloody good…. literally. This script is criticized as one of Shakespeare’s worst however I think the RSC did a brilliant job of taking a bold stance. The show felt extremely political with the use of costuming and set. It was simplistic but effective; two giant fences enclosed a podium area that could open/close. It gave me a sense of The Capital from Hunger Games, it was very protective. The best way I can describe the costuming is Ralph Lauren or Royal family-esk. It’s clean cuts, rich colors and a polished look to begin with. As soon as people start dying the cuts and colors start to decline plus most everyone starts getting covered in blood. The costumes are symbolic to the storyline because everyone starts clean-cut and polished but slowly start to slip into looser fit and muted colors.
The government controls everyone even those who have actually fought on the countries behave and who have actually agency to lead. Titus is depicted as the noble general who would do anything for his country, even kill his own son. Slowly throughout the show he loses his faith in his country and his government and realizes his efforts have just been abused. Throughout the show I never could get anger with Tamora because she was just a mother. Her son was killed before her for no reason, all her action there after are just mama-bear instincts. In tragedies it’s hard to blame the mother because chances are she is fighting for her children. Her sons however are a different story, their actions made my stomach turn. They rape, cut out a tongue and cut off hands of a women who just witnessed her husband die. The way the actors tore at Lavinia was animalistic and you wanted to look away but you just couldn’t. For myself, I really believed what was happening and that has to take immense dedication and trust from the actors. During the Q&A they said during blocking they would have to take breaks after 20 minutes because it’s just so intense. Their deaths were so gruesome yet so satisfying to watch because of the horrors they had inflicted on innocent Lavinia. My deduction within tragedy: if you are attractive and innocent, you are screwed! Honestly, I wish she would have been killed earlier, because after her rape and mutilation she has no life left. She is just a body, her spirit and soul died in those woods. She can’t speak, she has no hands, she was raped by two men after witnessing her love die by their hand and two of her brothers died. Her life was essentially nothing, and for her sake, I wanted her to die just to end her suffering. However, I think it’s extremely poetic that Titus is the one to kill her and that he stabs her. To me, it’s an intimate act because you have to be close, you have to drive the knife in and you get to hold that person as they die. Whereas Titus death was so disconnected and heartless, he was shot, it’s so quick and distant.
An aspect that I think was very effective was the use of Titus sons after they had died. They appear like ghosts in scenes or stand in the background as a reminder. When Tamora sons die the ghost sons are used to hold them and I think this was a metaphor of revenge because Tamora sons killed Bassianus, Lavinia husband, but Titus sons were blamed for it and lost their lives. Not only is Titus getting revenge for his daughter but also because his sons are holding them back it was like they got to share in the righting of the wrong.
The play set out to back a bold statement and showed that murder for murders sake is just a cycle. Within the characterization and style the show was a power play on politics that I felt was very effective. There currently is a lot of unrest in the world as far as government goes and I feel the story is relevant to what can happen when power is taken to extremes.