“Saturninus” is the eldest son of the recently deceased Roman Emperor. The play opens with him fighting with his brother for the crown. He is an egotistical child: obsessed by what is “rightfully” his. And he is never satisfied. Even once he is awarded the Emperorship, he continues to react violently to any perceived threats to what is his. He is a naive and brutal man.
He wants to be a great emperor; he wants to be a champion of the people. But he doesn’t have the tools to become those things, and with each failure and frustration he lashes out. Though few of us have the power to do such damage when we lash out, I think we can all understand what it feels like to be wronged; to be denied our due or what we feel we deserve.
Why should we see this play?
Audiences should see this production because it is a magnificent play. And this one is damned exciting! It’s filled with rage, and fury, and some gorgeous poetry. It’s filled with the vehemence of parents fighting for their children, and with the depths of sorrow over their failures to do so. Perhaps most importantly, it’s an incredible study of the never-ending cycle of revenge, and a meditation on the difference between revenge and justice. “Titus” quite literally goes searching for the Goddess of Justice, and “Tamora” quite literally appears to him as the Goddess of Revenge. And in the end, which do we have?