- Series: Folio Texts
- Paperback: 110 pages
- Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books (February 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557833796
- ISBN-13: 978-1557833792
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lamentable Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: Applause First Folio Editions (Applause Shakespeare Library Folio Texts)
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About the Author
William Shakespeare is the world's greatest ever playwright. Born in 1564, he split his time between Stratford-upon-Avon and London, where he worked as a playwright, poet and actor. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway. Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two, leaving three children—Susanna, Hamnet and Judith. The rest is silence.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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(This review is for the talking book version of this play on compact disc by the "Arkangel Complete Shakespeare")
"I'll find a day to massacre them all,
And raze their faction and their family,
The cruel father and his traitorous sons,
To whom I sued for my dear son's life."
The above is said as aside by Tamora (voiced by Harriet Walter), the Queen of the Goths, captured by Titus Andronicus (a father with many sons) and his soldiers. She is out for revenge because Titus (voiced by David Troughton) and his sons have sacrificed her eldest son.
Her intense desire for revenge sets off a series of bloody and gory events. This forms the basis of this play by William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616). This play is the first known tragedy (a revenge tragedy written circa 1590) in his canon.
Having this play recorded on this compact disc set is a real treat. This play (of five acts or fourteen scenes) is presented as uncut, fully dramatized, and accompanied by original music. This recording aids in comprehension by bringing the play to life using the voices of distinguished actors.
Included with the compact disc set are liner notes that include, among other things, a complete cast list and a synopsis of each scene. What I did was, before each scene, I paused the recording, read a particular scene's synopsis, and then listened to that scene as Shakespeare wrote it. Doing this resulted (for me anyway) in complete comprehension of the play, something not easily obtainable when you simply read the play.
With respect to the play itself, this play has been called "bad Shakespeare." What this really means is that this play is not "cerebral Shakespeare." It is, instead, "visceral Shakespeare" or "shock Shakespeare." More than any other Shakespeare plays, this play shows the writer as a practical man of the theatre whose instincts tell him exactly what his audience craves and who gives it to them--in spades.
Thus, this play is fascinating both because of its horror and for what it tells us about Elizabethan popular taste.
Look for a couple of unique stage directions in this play:
(1) "Enter the Empress' sons, with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out, and ravished." (Lavinia is Titus Andronicus' daughter.)
(2) "Enter Messenger with two heads and a hand."
Also, look for Shakespeare's first truly evil villain in this play named Aaron. He was probably the first prototype of Shakespeare's later villains. To give you an idea of how purely evil Aaron is, consider what he says when he is finally caught for all his evil-doings:
"But I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more."
By the way, the actor who voices Aaron in this play, Paterson Joseph, does a magnificent job of getting Aaron's evil across to the listener.
Finally, be aware that disc 2 and disc 3 do not have the act and scene numbers specified on the computer screen (for those playing these discs on their computer). Only the track numbers are specified. However, track, act, and scene number are indicated on the discs themselves.
Also, again for those playing these discs on their computer compact disc player, beware that a "cookie" of 0.1 KB size is stored on your computer's hard drive. A "cookie" is just a small piece of text and is NOT a virus. It can do no harm but for those that don't want it, it can be easily erased.
In conclusion, this compact disc set brings this revenge tragedy to life aiding in comprehension and thus enjoyment!!
(2006; 2 hr, 40 min; 3 compact discs; 19 tracks)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
Which brings us to Michael Hordern's Titus. Hodern is a fine actor but not a great one. He suffers well but not grandly. I am surprised that his Big Moment--"I am the sea"--is lost among all the other images in that speech. But anyone can direct someone else's play. This recording, soon to be rivaled by one in the Arkangel series, is definitely worth having for Quayle's performance alone.