Titus Andronicus at the Globe
Some sketches made from the yard of the Globe Theatre yesterday.
Warning: Spoiler Alert!
This production of Titus Andronicus has got a lot of press for live blood and gore, so this fits in very well with the Globe’s tradition of fighting and mess across the stage -and audience! Standing at the front I was lucky enough to be ‘blooded’ by the Goths as they dragged away a slaughtered Bacchus. I had intended to sketch two plays, but was exhausted from standing and drawing so by the time I got back to watch Anthony & Cleopatra I was too tired to draw. But Titus was fantastic and followed in the great Globe tradition of actors tearing through the audience and yard: wheeled scaffolding whisked emperors around ‘Rome’, a funeral cortege marched through, blood-hungry Gothic warriors.
I’ve always had a thing for the glamour and brutality of Roman history since I was little (even before I discovered those Horrible Histories books) so I was very happy to be surrounded by the clang of armour and smell of smoke, underneath a canopied roof -the first time I’ve seen them do this at the Globe, it only added to the claustrophobia of the deception on the stage. William Houston did a stella job as the lead, I’m a big fan of his as he’s normally found in costume dramas of all sorts, so it was great to see him on stage, and in his element as the fiery, impassioned general who progresses from proud and war-weary to shocked, enraged, to coldly-calculating and eventually, mad. He has a fascinating face, which can switch from warm and contented to wild eyes and contorted brows, flailing against the waves of cruelty and eventually embracing and feeding from revenge himself. The story is horrific, of the bizarre spiralling violence sort that can never end well -much like The Duchess of Malfi. It wasn’t so much the action that shocked me, but the spoken plotting and scheming and twisted imaginations of the characters, guided by Aaron into rape, torture and murder. Gripping and haunting. Brilliant to draw!
You can see a few of my previous Globe visits here. In a few weeks I’ll be back for Julius Caesar and The Last Days of Troy in a few weeks…
Titus in despair after slaying his son (left) and his daughter’s betrayal.
Tamora and Aaron plotting and scheming mid-tryst. That’s multi-tasking!
So fast it was impossible to sketch: a beautiful moving scene as Bassianus lifts and carries and kisses Lavinia whilst trying to defend her from the attacking Goth brothers Alarbus and Demetrius.
Marcus Andronicus discovers Lavinia after her ordeal. Right, Titus Andronicus approaches his daughter, not knowing quite how to comfort her.
A study of Titus as he plots revenge. Below, Titus slits the throats of the brothers as Lavinia gathers their blood.