Shakespeare Meets Grindhouse

Savage and sublime, brutal and beautiful Seattle Shakespeare Company will produce its first ever production of Titus Andronicus as part of it’s 25th Anniversary season.

“It has taken us 25 years to get to this play and to discover its unexpected joys and pleasures,” said Artistic Director George Mount at the first rehearsal for Titus Andronicus. When Mount asked David Quicksall to stage the play, he knew that it would be a good fit. “It fits right into his wheelhouse of strengths. Having directed Coriolanusfor us, he knows how to tackle these obscure, complex Roman plays. He loves the horror side of things, as well. I think this play marries those two things in a very unique way, and brought out both the Shakespeare and the horror side of Dave in some really fun and inventive, but also respectful and truthful ways.”

Titus Andronicus is a blackly comic revenge story. General Andronicus returns victorious from battle with the prisoners Queen Tamora, her lover, and her sons. Despite Tamora’s pleadings, Titus hands over her eldest son for sacrifice and sets in motion a cycle of violence that races to a vicious conclusion. Yet among the bloodshed are moments of profound humanity in the anguish and loss felt by both families, illuminating the senselessness of “eye for an eye” retribution.

Knowing that the play had been very popular in Elizabethan England, Quicksall said he wanted to extend that idea and took inspiration from the world of film. “We’ve got violence and sex in films, and one of the things I came back to was how it used to be part of the entertainment in the 70s when you used to go to the drive in movies to see slasher films,” said Quicksall. The Grindhouse genre of films took violence to an absurd and almost laughable extreme. “Not that we’re re-creating a drive in movie, but that it’s embracing an environment and a world where such horrific things can happen.” To create the violence onstage, Titus Andronicus will employ Blood Consultant Julia Griffin who will design the apparatus and prosthesis needed in the production.

Andrew McGinn (Julius Caesar) returns after several years to play the title role of Titus Andronicus. Rachel Glass (The Two Gentlemen of Verona) will play Tamora Queen of the Goths. George Mount will play Saturninus and Sylvester Kamara (Measure for Measure) will play Aaron. They lead a cast of 16 actors.

Tickets to Titus Andronicus are available now on sale.

Listen now to the first rehearsal presentation for Titus Andronicus.