(Observation made during intermission - that's right, we were only at the halfway mark!)
M: Could you hear us cackling up on the hill?
Me: No, because we were too busy giggling.
(Comment made after the show.)
Nemesis: Look! It's Topsie from Uncle Tom's Cabin!
(Comment made in the first 5 minutes of the show.)
Last night, Nemesis and I attended the Houston Shakespeare Festival's production of Titus Andronicus. For those not familiar with this play, this is possibly the goriest tragedy Will Shakes wrote. Blood, severed limbs, unintentional cannibalism, murder - a definite tragedy. Nemesis and I spent a good chunk of the show giggling and snickering. It was BAD. On so many levels.
I don't think the costume designer liked any of the actors. It seemed like she went out of her way to make the actors look bad. Lavinia (the girl who loses both her hands and her tongue) looked like Topsie from Uncle Tom's Cabin. She was wearing a hoop skirt & black, sausage-curled wig that looked like it was made out of a yarn mop. The chorus looked like they were from Colonial India complete with turbans. Titus' sons and the rest of Roman tribunal wore these hats that must have been swiped from Marvin the Martian. Tamora wore this headpiece that looked like it was borrowed from Nefertiti's wardrobe. Altogether visually disturbing.
The blood. Or lack thereof. All of the murders were indicated (as opposed to weapons actually making contact with the actors) and at the same time, the chorus would parallel that murder with some symbolic action representing the blood being spilt. Like unfurling a red banner above the spot where one of the characters was killed. Or drizzling blood over the newly murdered character (like you would drizzle glaze over a cake). Or dropping an axe on a slab of raw steak (a la Gallagher - just minus the watermelon). But I think my favorite is the murder indicated by the big red ball. Yes, a big red rubber ball. The chorus tossed it around like a game of hot potato and the last chorus member tossed it to the character as his adversary killed him. Nemesis and I were giggling as the emperor's brother caught and collapsed over the big red rubber ball and then tumbled into the pit.
It's shows like this that make me weep for my profession.