My granddaughter and I are going to see Titus Andronicus tomorrow evening at The Arts Project in London. If I didn't know the producer/director, and if I didn't know and respect the actors playing the leading roles, and if I didn't enjoy supporting local theatre, I probably wouldn't go to see this play.
Murder, rape, dismemberment, mutilation, torture, fratricide, sacrificial death -- you name it. This play has all that gruesome stuff. I'm not keen on it. From Wikipaedia,
In his 1998 book, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom attacked the play on numerous occasions, calling it "a howler", "a poetic atrocity", "an exploitative parody, with the inner purpose of destroying the ghost of Christopher Marlowe" and "a blowup, an explosion of rancid irony." Bloom summates his views by declaring "I can concede no intrinsic value to Titus Andronicus." Citing the 1955 Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production, directed by Peter Brook and starring Laurence Olivier, which is generally agreed to have provided the impetus for the 20th century revaluation of the play, Bloom said that the audience laughed several times in scenes which were supposed to be tragic, and he sees this as evidence for its failure as Tragedy. He particularly focuses his criticism on the line when Lavinia is told to carry Titus' severed hand in her mouth (3.1.281), arguing that no play which contains such a scene could possibly be serious. He thus concludes the best director to tackle the play would be Mel Brooks.
Say, now there's an idea! I'm going to laugh all the way through the play. Maybe I'll have a few glasses of wine before I go, too.