Titus AndronicusBuy Tickets
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dr. Jan Powell
June 1st – 24th
The 20th annual Richmond Shakespeare Festival
Agecroft Hall – 4305 Sulgrave Road, Richmond VA 23221
In its first showing at the summer festival, and possibly the first production in Richmond, this brutal revenge tragedy takes place during the decay of the Roman empire. Titus Andronicus, a Roman general, returns from ten years of war with only four of his twenty-five sons left. He has captured Tamora, Queen of the Goths, her three sons, and Aaron the Moor. In obedience to Roman rituals, he sacrifices her eldest son to his own dead sons, which earns him Tamora’s unending hatred and her promise of revenge.
And make them know what ’tis to let a queen
Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.
Tamora is made empress by the new emperor Saturninus, and schemes with her lover Aaron to have Titus’s sons framed for the murder of Bassianus, the emperor’s brother. Titus’s sons are beheaded. Then she urges her sons to rape Titus’s daughter Lavinia, after which they cut off her hands and tongue so she cannot give them away.
Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,
Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,
Doth rise and fall between thy rosed lips,
Coming and going with thy honey breath.
Titus’s last son Lucius is banished. Titus begins to act oddly and everyone assumes that he is crazy. Titus tricks Tamora, captures her sons, kills them, and makes pie out of them. He feeds the pie to their mother, then kills both Tamora and Lavinia, his own daughter. A rash of killings ensue, and Lucius becomes the new emperor of