Sky Gilbert’s workshop presentation of “Who’s Afraid of Titus?” on stage Aug 31 to Sep 3, 2022
Eldritch Theatre presents a Titus-on-the-Run Productions Workshop Presentation of “Who’s Afraid of Titus“?
Who was Shakespeare? Does it matter? Well Sky Gilbert thinks he was an aesthete — a poet whose plays are about poetry and its effect on us.
In tackling Titus Andronicus, perhaps Shakespeare’s most baffling play — Gilbert is drawing on his research for his new book Shakespeare Beyond Science: When Poetry Was the World (released in 2020 by Guernica Editions). Gilbert has now adapted Titus Andronicus for a post-Covid era, asking the question on all our minds Who’s Afraid of Titus Andronicus?. Gilbert reduces Titus Andronicus to one hour and 18 concise scenes; the language is there, the story is there — and yes, there is a reason for doing this play now. Gilbert presents Titus as a queer play about poeticised violence, and asks (but does not answer) the question. Does art harm us? Should it?
There have been many who have tackled the Bard’s plays, and in every different form imaginable…but none have come close to this condensed sexually charged, hilarious tragedy of Titus Andronicus that Gilbert has mounted. The overall plot is followed, albeit it’s much more twisted and ambiguous. The play opens with the narrator (Veronika Hurnik) asking the audience if they were ever harmed by theatre, which right then and there should be taken as a trigger warning.
Gilbert makes the most of the tiny environs of the Eldritch Theatre, by involving the audience to somewhat be part of the proceedings. The cast he has chosen is magnificent as per his previous works, and it was wonderful to see his long-time cohort, Elley-Ray Hennessy, back on stage as the powerfully sexy Tomora, Queen of the Goths. Kudos to all, but a special nod to Ray Jacildo, who plays Tomora’s lover.
Be forewarned, there is nudity and simulated sexual acts throughout, as the actors intertwine within the tiny confines. However, this intimate setting worked extremely well for this performance, making the audience feel they were part of the “in crowd.” Be prepared to be shocked, awed, bewildered, tantalized…and maybe frightened…but not harmed…too much. Without divulging much more, I definitely can see this emerging as something bigger, and taking on a new life elsewhere at some point. Something Sky is certainly worthy of achieving.
As with Shakespeare, there are many innuendos and play on words, from Your Highness to Titus. I’ll leave that with you to contemplate, while you click here to order your tickets for this very limited run on until Sept 3rd only. Please note, masks are required, and it does get stuffy inside. Perhaps a more scantily clad outfit would be apropos when attending.
Titus features a stellar cast including Brian Smegal (Stratford Festival) as Titus, Ellen-Ray Hennessy (Canada’s Queen of Voice and Animation) as Tamora, Sandy Crawley (movies galore; Green Party candidate) as Marcus, Veronika Hurnik (paula and karl, DNA Theatre/Six Stages) as the Narrator, and Augusta “Gus” Monet as Lavinia. The production also features Ray Jacildo, George Alevizos, Max Ackerman and John Humeniuk.
Content Warning: Who’s Afraid of Titus is suitable for adults only as it involves scenes that fictionalize sex and violence. More details here
WHO’S AFRAID OF TITUS?
Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Adapted & Directed by Sky Gilbert
August 31 to September 3rd, 2022 at the uncanny Red Sandcastle Theatre
922 Queen St East, Toronto
$15 Arts Worker/$25 Advance/$35 Door
6:30PM Doors/7:00 Evening Showtime
2:30PM Doors/3:00 Saturday Matinee
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.