Titus Andronicus

How would you react if your first-born son's entrails were removed and his limps lopped off and put on the fire as a religious ritual right in front of you; or your daughter was brutally gang-raped, her tongue cut out, and her hands cut off; or your newborn son threatened to be spitted on the end of a pike? Family trauma at its worst, yet rendered with gorgeous poetry, makes for a luscious and provocative discussion. Don't let past reactions to this fascinating play deter you from experiencing it. “For these, tribunes, in the dust I write my heart's deep languor and my soul's sad tears.”

See Wikipedia for a synopsis and various commentaries.

For those of you who provide parts a scene at a time, this Character Chart shows all the characters' lines in each scene: Titus Andronicus

If your group reads the plays straight through in one sitting and you want to divide up the parts, we have a number of “cast” lists already divided up for you. These are text files that you can edit to suit your group. We always recommend in a straight-through read that each participant take a moment beforehand to mark their parts—then everything proceeds so smoothly.

Cast for 8, plus a Reader for Stage Directions
Cast for 9, plus a Reader for Stage Directions
• Cast for 10, plus a Reader for Stage Directions

In 1687, a hundred years after the first performance of Titus Andronicus, Edward Ravenscroft adapted the play for a different audience. In the introduction to what he considered to be his more refined version, he wrote, “I have been told by some anciently conversant with the stage, that it was not originally his [Shakespeare’s], but brought by a private author to be acted, and he only gave some Master-touches to one or two of the principal parts of characters.” This has various implications for authorship.

Goth: One of an ancient Teutonic race who dwelt between the Elbe and the Vistula in the early part of the Christian era, and who overran and took an important part in subverting the Roman empire.

Note: Under the reign of Valens, the Goths took possession of Dacia (the modern Transylvania and the adjoining regions), and came to be known as Ostrogoths and Visigoths, or East and West Goths; the former inhabiting countries on the Black Sea up to the Danube, and the latter on this river generally. Some of them took possession of the province of Moesia, and hence were called Moesogoths. Others, who made their way to Scandinavia, at a time unknown to history, are sometimes styled Suiogoths. Just thought you might want to know.   ~R