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Monday, October 5, 2009

~ titus andronicus

Yes, I live on. My pale yellow bones still tread the Earth. My time has been fully allotted – an equal split between productive periods, recuperative periods and periods spent in bewilderment and disorientation. The school holidays have been and gone And, of course, there’s been the Grand Final and the nerve-wracking weeks preceding, which consumed and then bitterly spat out all my emotional energy. There’s nothing to say St Kilda can’t win next year, but we came so close, so close … and blew it.

I wonder to what extent cuticle condition is an indicator of mental health? Just now my bitten down nails and knurled, nibbled-at cuticles are returning to a semblance of health. In the bad times I might wear two, three or more band-aids on those fingertips where I have gnawed too far …

I’ve been rehearsing for a production of The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus, which opens on Wednesday. It’s become a bit of an annual event for me, doing these plays at RMIT with Lynne (Ellis). Last year it was Under Milk Wood, before that The Tempest and The Bible. It’s always an agreeable time. I like the students: sweet, sparkling with enthusiasm and growing younger every year (I’m older than a lot of their parents now). Above all, I find it pleasing to leach their health-giving youthful energies and employ them towards my own questionable ends.

Doing the play also helps keep me in focus; inevitably I have a huge amount of lines and blocking to recall - and my brain does respond, though sluggishly, to the challenge. And with so many unfamiliar individuals about, I get plenty of practice acting normal, which is a talent I begin to lose if I spend too much time in my cloud castle. On stage, however, Lynne gives me license to ham it up to my heart’s content. Last year I channeled Peter Lorre; in Titus, as the outrageously wicked villain Aaron –a green-fleshed alien from the Sculptor Galaxy (at least in this production) - I’m trying to draw inspiration from Bill Nighy’s Viktor in Underworld.

Oh, and I also like coming home late at night from the city by train, too – it almost feels like I have a real job.

If it piques your interest, Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare’s Festival of Gore), runs for four night - Wednesday through Saturday (7-10 Oct) at the Kaleide Theatre at RMIT in Swanston St, Melbourne. It is part of the 2009 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Tickets are $5/$10 and it starts at 7.30. To suit modern attention-spans, it’s been edited down a fair bit and features excepts from Christopher Dunne’s bizarre film adaptation. The two female leads are composite beings, each played, at all times, by five girls.

Titus is thought to be Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy and brims with murder, rape, villainy, revenge, general barbarity, a complex web of deceit and evil deeds of every ilk. (Note well that my character is progenitor of most of these.) It’s ‘by far his bloodiest work’. Indeed, this bloodthirstiness caused the play to remain out of favour for long periods of its history, regardless of its literary quality which, though not of the level of his greatest works, is outstanding.

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2 comments:

Marshall-Stacks said...

Good to have you back - we missed you. rock ON.

lily was here said...

It's been WAY too long between blogs Sam! Hope all is well?
xox