How Wait Until Dark influences Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus

Wait until dark is considered a classic thriller of the suspense genre. The Vertigo Theatre adaptation directed by Simon Mallett is rework of the original film written by playwright Frederick Knott, which starred Audrey Hepburn as Susan Hendrix and Alan Arkin as Roat. The plot of this horror play takes place in the basement apartment of a newly blind woman in New York, intimidated by three criminals, hoping to get a prized possession of a doll stuffed with a smuggled drug. Sociopathic killer, Roat, who is as sly as a fox, manipulates and blackmails the other two men into getting involved in the crime and, hoped to use the blindness of the lady to their advantage to recover the doll. Since this review is based on my opinion of the play, I would have to say it was a very successful play as I was engaged and entertained throughout the play due to the suspense that lingered till the end of the play.

In the adaptation of the play, Mallett still kept the authenticity of the original movie; however, the length of the movie was cut and adjusted to two acts for the purposes of stage play. The styles of the costumes were in tune with the age and time period the play was set in- 1940’s. Costume designer, gave a vintage touch to the outfits of the characters such as the trench coats, the neutral and earthy colors worn by the cast, the bowler hats worn by the men, and the humble suitcases.

Walking into the theatre in The Playhouse, the set definitely showed a typical New York apartment. The set designer, did an amazing job by creating a cozy New York apartment, and still included every appliance that could make an apartment functional. The switches for the lights, the working fridge and the running faucet helped create a real home-feel rather than a stage.

The lighting director used lighting to help tell the story in the second act, especially in the final scenes when every source of light was turned off in the apartment. Lighting helped climax the second act.

I will be implementing my directorial verdict from Wait Until Dark to the Shakespearean play Titus Andronicus. My preferred venue for my play will be the Boston Opera. I chose a bigger stage because of the several scenes and locations in the play. The positioning of the seats also makes it possible for audience members to view the stage from any angle, and the acoustics of the theatre helps amplify the sounds made.

In terms of casting, I would want a smaller cast with the aim to focus on the depth of the relationships and climaxes in the play. I would focus on scene where Lavinia was found by her uncle to have been raped in the forest, and I also would focus Aaron’s negotiation with Titus. I would cast Meryl Streep for the role of Tamora. I chose Streep because she has the tendencies to easily transition from a lowly captured slave-queen, to a woman made queen in another land.  In addition, all the characters will have dark features.

Inflections and pitch in the dialogues of characters will help showcase the inter-relationships and emotions between characters. Lavinia’s pain and emptiness will be emphasized, as well was Titus’ anguish and confusion when his arm is cut off. The villain, Aaron who has a one dimensional character just like Roat will stand out in his dialogues and soliloquies to emphasize his evil and sociopathic side, which is really all that is portrayed about him.

The set design will include a wooden floor, several Roman pillars with burning fire at the top, a burgundy back drop with a balcony for Saturninus’ palace. The color of every object on the stage will be of an earthy tone to match the time period of the Roman Empire.

The costumes that will be most emphasized will be Tamora’s since she is the queen. Her costume will be a very dark brown with hints of red, as her marriage to Saturninus was as a revenge for being captured, and the death of her son Alarbus. Lavinia will have a long ivory dress to show her innocence and lack of knowledge of the events going on around her. Saturninus will dress in a very fancy embellished robe, while Titus will have the fit of a warrior, though not with the complete war gear.

The only part of the play that I will edit will be Marcus’ long speech. His lamentation will be cut short, and instead Aaron’s speech will be emphasized. This will be to focus on the villainy of Aaron and the effects it had on the other characters. The discussion of the kinsmen will also be cut out in order to maintain a small cast, especially when they did not play a huge role in the turn of events.

Sound designers will play in crucial role in reproducing the audio elements involved in scenes in the play that will not be played out on stage. Just as in Wait until Dark the sound of a train played to help the audience visualize what was not shown, as well as sound of rain and taxis. The lighting designer would work closely with the sound designer. The scene in the forest where Marcus and his nephews go hunting and Lavinia is being raped, the light on stage will be dimmed, and sounds will be all the audience hears, so as to evoke the emotions going on at that time. For every soliloquy, there will be a spotlight on that character, while every other light on stage will be dimmed. Use of light will be most effective in the final scene since a series of deaths occur, the stage will be dimly lit with spotlight on the spot of the dining table, still not bright.

The end scene will be the burial of Saturninus in a royal manner, and the humiliating burial of Aaron to his head. The resolution of this scene is to end the play on a sorrowful but fulfilling note as the villain was captured just as in Wait until Dark.

In conclusion, for Titus Andronicus, I want to highlight how a foreigner full of greed, terror and revenge disrupted a family and almost killed every member of that family.

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