Titus Andronicus

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Titus Andronicus [1] is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and possibly George Peele (1556-1596) [2].

The original text

, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy, and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were extremely popular with audiences throughout the sixteenth century. The play is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire and tells the fictional story of Titus, a general in the Roman army, who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths.

The original text

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans by Breyten Breytenbach (Buren, 1970).

In 1985 an adaptation called Anatomie Titus Fall of Rome, and described as "Ein Shakespearekommentar" ("a Shakespeare commentary"), was written by Heiner Müller (1929-1995).

Performance history in South Africa

1970: The Breytenbach Afrikaans translation was produced for CAPAB by the German director Dieter Reible at the Hofmeyr Theatre, with Pieter Geldenhuys (Titus Andronicus), Jannie Gildenhuys (Saturninus), Pietro Nolte (Bassianus) and James Norval (Marcus Andronicus). Other members of the cast included Mees Xteen, Chris Swanepoel, Peter Grobbelaar, Pieter von Dissel, Ben Dekker, Dawid van der Walt, Johan Naudé, Chris Swanepoel, Johan Esterhuizen, Johan Malherbe, Will Bernard, Pieter Joubert, Willem de la Querra, Grethe Fox, Annelisa Weiland, Anna Cloete. Decor and costumes by Bert Kistner. It was a controversial but a successful production. Including a tour, it saw 19 performances.

1995: Produced at the Market Theatre in association with the Royal National Theatre [3] Studio from 29 March to 13 May, starring South African-born British actor Antony Sher in the lead, directed by Gregory Doran [4]. The production then went on a tour of Britain and Spain. According to material held by NELM the other cast members were Gysbert de Villiers, Bruce Laing, Sello Maake ka Ncube, Charlton Lee George, Leslie Fong, Daphney Hlomuka, Oscar Peterson, Martin le Maitre, Duncan Lawson, Dan Robbertse, Dale Cutts, Dorothy-Ann Gould, Paulus Kuoape, Jennifer Woodburne, Godfrey Mgcina, Timothy Parr, Martin le Maitre, Duncan Lawson, Godfrey Mgcina, Oscar Petersen, Ivan D. Lucas, Nadya Cohen as set designer, Sue Steele as costume designer Mannie Manim as lighting designer, Dumisani Dlamini as musical director, and Wesley France as lighting designer.

2014: Staged in the Little Theatre, Cape Town, directed by American academic and stage director Jeffrey Sichel [5] and Geoffrey Hyland, with a cast of students from five universities in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, including Sihle Mnqwazana, Lothando Jamda, Cleo Raatus, Tankiso Mamabolo, Clarissa Roodt, Donna Cormack-Thomson, Zandile Madliwa, Sizwesandile Mnisi, Kiroshan Naidoo, Shalima Mkhongi, Zimasa Dyani, Courtney Smith, Sanchia Davids, Roberto Meyer, Jamie-Lee Money, Awethu Hleli, Oarabile Ditsele and Schalk Bezuidenhout.


Wikipedia [6]

Grütter, Wilhelm, CAPAB 25 Years, 1987. Unpublished research. P 70-71.

Titus Andronicus programme, 1970.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

NELM, [Collection: MARKET THEATRE]: 2007. 32. 9. 207. 5.

Contracts of employment between the Market Theatre and Titus Andronics cast members (1995 production): (NELM [Collection: MARKET THEATRE]: 2007. 10. 10. 175. 2).

Cape Times, 14 April 2014.

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