The candles bear the brunt of the gore-free production of Titus Andronicus | Arrange

Eight years after a stomach-churning and spattering Titus Andronicus production led to some audience members fainting, Shakespeare’s Globe is left wondering how to generate similar murderous horror in a more intimate, lit space a la candle?

The solution? Candles crash.

Jude Christian’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most violent play comes with many warnings, including that there will be “extreme violence and death… bodily mutilation, cannibalism, rape and self-harm”.

For the avoidance of doubt, he adds, “This content can be extremely upsetting to many.”

But it will be a very different display of violence in his Sam Wanamaker Playhouse space. Each character will have, includes the Guardian, a candle avatar which in turn is hammered, gored, or completely extinguished when the text calls for it.

Characters can use meat cleavers, heat guns, or metal tenderizers to inflict violence. Sometimes spraying wax means that safety equipment will be required. The show, which runs from January to April, has an all-female cast.

The theater is keen to emphasize that the intention is not to sanitize the violence or spare the audience – and points to shows such as The Woman in Black, which manages to be truly terrifying by relying on the audience using his own imagination.

“It will be like the audience is in a torture chamber,” a source from the theater said.

“It’s a different approach to violence,” Christian told the Sunday Telegraph.

Christian is understandably interested in the public’s continued fascination and appetite for extreme violence, as evidenced by the success of the Netflix series Squid Game.

His previous productions include a mashup of Othello and Macbeth. The Guardian’s Michael Billington didn’t care much for the Othello, but the Macbeth was “one of the clearest and most compelling versions of the play I’ve seen in a long time”.

Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare’s first and deadliest revenge tragedy with a body count – spoiler alert – of 14 to 11 in Richard III and 10 in King Lear.

To say that the violence is sometimes thick and fast is an understatement. One of its most memorable moments is when Tamora, Queen of the Goths, is served a pie filled with the cooked flesh of her own sons, Chiron and Demetrius.

“Why, there they are, both baked in this pie,” said Titus. “Whose mother delicately nurtured / Eating the flesh she herself engendered / It’s true, it’s true! Witness the sharp point of my knife.

How Titus stabs Tamora. Saturninus then kills Titus. Lucius then kills Saturninus.

Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production of Titus Andronicus for Shakespeare’s Globe was striking for its boundless gore.

The revival in 2014 was even bloodier, with reports of audience members fainting when confronted by Lavinia with no tongue and no hands.

“Naughty, but oh so very, very nice too,” Lyn Gardner of The Guardian said of the show.

The theater audience effectively became the citizens of Rome in the production. “It spares us nothing… There is no escaping our complicity in the events unfolding as heads roll, blood spurts and hearts crack.”

Audience blackouts are rare but not unheard of in theater. At least five people fainted and 40 walked out in the first week of the National Theater’s 2016 production of Sarah Kane’s Cleansed. The show featured characters being electrocuted, force-fed, and tortured, including the removal of one character’s tongue 20 minutes into the play.

A spokesperson for Shakespeare’s Globe said: “The intimate candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will become a feast for the senses – with sight, smell and sound all working together to create a kind of torture chamber of play. survival containing the action of the play.

“From Gladiator Arena to Squid Game, we’ve always relished ultraviolent entertainment, and Jude Christian’s Titus won’t hold back.

“Candles – replacing characters – will be shattered, melted and defaced – this is the only theater to use the real flame of more than a hundred candles per show – what could be more perfect for traversing the fragility of human life, and the horror of the room?

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