Titus Andronicus is William Shakespeare at his most over-the-top bloody and gratuitously violent. So naturally, it was a huge hit in 17th century England. Over four-hundred years later and Montréal’s own Shakespeare Theatre Company is hoping for a similar reception with its upcoming run of Titus at the Monument-National starting August 2nd.
The ten year-old company (formerly known as Purple 9 Productions) has made a pretty ambitious and revenge-soaked choice for a play. For those of you who don’t have a degree in literature, Titus Andronicus is the tale of a legendary general’s return to Rome and the wrath of the conquered Goths that follows him there. Typically, Montreal’s Shakespeare Theatre Company (M.S.T.C. for short) takes a contemporary spin on the playwright’s works, adapting scene and language alike. What that amounts to remains to be seen, but the blood will likely be flowing either way.
Leading the young cast is Christopher Moore—of the John Abbott College Professional Theatre Program—who plays the general himself, as well as Jessica B. Hill—a McGill grad—as Queen Tamora of the Goths. Those two and the rest of the cast will be pitted against each other and surrounded by a good heaping of adultery, gore and Goth-pie when all is said and done.
The tragedy also features choreography by Montreal Fringe Festival Director Amy Blackmore and, of course, direction by Aaron George—director of M.S.T.C.’s plays in school tours across Canada. We’re not sure if Titus is going to become a high school staple anytime soon, but all those young, would-be-thespians could certainly learn a thing or two from the darker, Romeo-less side of Shakespeare.