They Dismember It Well

Took in a wonderful production of Titus Andronicus at the Shakespeare Theater last night. I would love to write a glowing review of it, but am hampered by the fact that several readings and live performances later, I still haven't a clue what the play means. Broadway's Sam Tsoutsouvas is terrific as Titus, though --one of the best stage voices of our time, I'd say-- and the scene where he sees his ravaged and mangled daughter Lavinia for the first time is marvelous. Tightly and tenderly rendered --I loathe an overplayed tragic scene, which dissipates the power of the emotions shown rather than revealing them.

Have to credit directors when acting is refined, and I hale director Gale Edwards too for resisting the temptation to put on the metaphor-for-Iraq production I was expecting. It would have been so easy, but there were no cheap shots. Although when Titus receives from the emperor the two heads of his sons (and his own right arm sent in ransom), they come rolled in plastic. It evoked for me Saddam's shredders and his lovely habit of returning remains to families in ziploc bags. Just for a moment I thought, "we were so right to do what we did." Probably not the reaction I was supposed to have. Just guessing.