Fourteen killings (nine on stage), six severed members, one rape, one live burial, one case of insanity and one of cannibalism. With an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one every 97 lines, Titus Andronicus is one of Shakespeare’s most gruesome and controversial plays and now a young theatre company has produced it as a living, breathing, bleeding graphic novel.
Daniel Garber, Scarlett Young, Guido Cavaciuti and Lily Fisher set up Deadly Theatre Productions in 2011, after producing a number of successful shows during their time as students at University College London, and this summer they want to take their production of Titus Andronicus to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – but they need your help.
“In order to fund-raise the money we need to take the show to Edinburgh, we’ve organised two local preview shows this month,“ explains producer Scarlett Young, who now lives in Potters Bar after living in Golders Green as a student.
“We recently put this production on at the Rag Factory in Shoreditch and it sold out every night.“
The shows take place at Dame Alice Owens School on July 17 and at Wingate and Finchley Football Club on July 21.
Director Daniel, who also lives in Potters Bar, is a former student at Dame Alice Owens and several of the cast members are current students.
Scarlett and the team set up Deadly Theatre Productions in response to what they saw as a straitjacketed approach to theatre in universities.
Titus Andronicus is experiencing a new wave of interest after being unfavourably viewed for some considerable time, and is showing how much Titus has to say about the modern world.
Titus Andronicus examines the cyclical nature of revenge and questions how far is too far when seeking retribution?
Titus slots perfectly into its setting – a Soviet Russia torn apart by conflict between the KGB and organised crime. The play’s aesthetic is compounded by animated projections which draw heavily on the aesthetic of the graphic novel which, like 300 and Sin City, emphasise the play’s portrayal of a version of the world where sex, violence and emotion are ratcheted up to 11.
“Our aim with Deadly has been to put on theatre in a new, gritty style combining cinematic realism with many more stylised aspects,“ continues Scarlett. “Our style was born as a reaction to what we feel to be an area untouched by theatre, appealing to those who enjoy action-packed cinematic experiences.
“We seek to reinvigorate theatre by infusing our own unique approach to stories both old and new, hoping to bring a fresh outlook and add a new dimension to the theatre-going experience, bringing the action right to the audience, providing an entirely new and sometimes uncomfortable experience.“
Titus Andronicus is at Dame Alice Owens School, Dugdale Hill Lane, Potters Bar on Wednesday, July 17 and at Wingate and Finchley FC on Sunday, July 21. Details: titusdtp.blogspot.co.uk