2011 is the year of the Titus Andronici

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It was because of watching HBO's two-season-only historical series "Rome" that I discovered you could pluralize the names of ancient Roman families. One of the characters said "I am so-and-so of the Julii," referring to her being part of Julius Caesar's family, and I was like "Whaaat?"

So now, with this knowledge, I say to you all that 2011 is the year of the Titus Andronici!

"Titus Andronicus" is considered William Shakespeare's bloodiest and goriest play.  I don't know what's going on with the stars, but as it turns out, audiences in Manila this year will have the chance to watch not one, but two productions of it.

Andronicus 1 and 2
In August, a thesis production will be done by some students from De La Salle-College of St. Benilde's theater programs (production design and technical theater majors).  Because this is the students' thesis, the staging, translated and directed by George De Jesus III, will stem from the student's concept of "decay" rather than having the director set the vision/tone.

From September to October, DUP will stage Layeta Bucoy's Tagalog translation.  Tuxqs Rutaquio will direct  and the duo will adapt the work to be "set in the Philippines with the violent Muslim clan wars as backdrop."

Andronicus 3
A few months ago, I was able to catch a staging of "Degustacion de Titus Andronicus" in a city that was born from a settlement founded by Romans: Barcelona.  It was staged by experimental theater group La Fura dels Baus and I wrote about it here.

Do theater people all think the same way all over the world?
It's kind of funny to have theater groups across the world staging the same material during the same year.  Maybe theater people's brains are on the same frequency and they feel the same urge or motivation to stage the same material at the same time.  

Either that or maybe there are some plays have an inexplicable force and energy that seek their own (re)staging time, (re)surfacing when they want to be (re)staged?

Theater and the production/making of theater is not limited by geography/nation/culture.  For example, for fun, here is a listing of some staging devices used in "Degustacion de Titus Andronicus" that I've already seen done by Philippine theater groups:

(Which is not to say that "we did it first" or "I've seen that before," but more of "theater is theater when ever and where ever!")

- video screens enclosing four sides of the venue
---> done in UP's Department of English and Comparative Literature's "Screen: Macbeth"

- food (and the eating of it) as an element in the staging
---> done in Tangahalang Pilipino's "Yun na nga! (Kung yun na nga)"

- fluids spewing out of the body
---> done in Sipat Lawin Ensemble's "Haring Tubu-l"

- actors on top of moving scaffolding
---> done in Dulaang UP's 2011 restaging of "Orosman at Zafira"

- Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius as the spirits of Revenge, Murder, and Rape, moving their torsos inside black stretchy cloth
---> okay, this last one I've not seen in local productions, but the black stretchy cloth is very Martha Graham (whose works I have also not seen, but I've seen photos of some of her works.)

Andronici in Manila, drama in Barcelona
Filipinos interested in exploring Barcelona's theater scene can take low-cost carrier Air Asia from Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Angeles City, Pampanga to Kuala Lumpur and transfer to their long-haul carrier Air Asia X to Paris' Orly Airport. From there, a flight on Veuling, one of Spain's low-cost carriers, allows one to land in Barcelona in as short as an hour.

The website of the city's tourism office, Barcelona Turisme (www.barcelonaturisme.cat/en), has comprehensive information and many products (maps, guidebooks, tour packages, etc.) for visitors to the coastal city.  Tourist information about Spain can be found at www.spain.info.

What do you think of all these Andronici? Share your comments.

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