I recently attended a performance of Titus Andronicus at the Globe Theatre in London as part of the social programme we had organized for the European partners of the Remembering Yesterday Caring Today Training project who attended the symposium.
This is one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest productions. It narrates a series of barbaric events that culminate in a banquet where a woman is tricked into eating a pie made with her own sons’ flesh. Rape, mutilation, physical and psychological torture and murder are offered to the spectators in such a stark way that it makes some people feel physically sick.
I had been warned about the negative reviews this production had received because of its sensationalistic use of violence, an attempt to make a Tarantino-like version of Shakespeare. Actually, there wasn’t so much blood – it was theatre after all. What really shocked me was a scene when a girl is found in the woods by her uncle after having been savagely raped, tortured and maimed. It wasn’t what you could actually see, but the look of madness in the young woman’s face. This reminded me of a performance of the ‘Vagina Monologues’ I saw a few years ago in which one of the actresses reflects on the fate of the thousands of women who were systematically raped during the Bosnian-Serbian war of the 1990s.
Later on in the play, the girl’s father asks the emperor if a parent should kill a daughter that has been raped. The emperor answers that he should, so he murders her in order to save his honour. It’s chilling to think about how often I have heard the same story in the news in the last few years.
Has humanity changed so little? Yesterday I was in the underground station and I read an announcement of Amnesty International asking people to sign a petition to save a teenage boy from being hanged. His crime? Being gay.
Fortunately, there are moments when you can see a silver lining in such a bleak panorama. On the same day I attended the performance of Titus Andronicus, I was walking up Whitehall with a group of people who had come to London from all over Europe. When we reached the monument that commemorates the fallen in the wars, we came across a parade of members of the three services of the armed forces.
As soon as this celebration finished, members of the police moved some fences and the floats of the Pride in London parade took over. In seconds, the sound of the army boots were substituted by the songs of Gloria Gaynor and other divas and the choreographies of topless muscular men and drag queens followed the same route that had been covered by the army march a few minutes before.
This is one of the things I love about this city, the rich mixture of ways of living and the opportunity to express yourself and live the life of your choice.
I leave you with the photos Lorenzo took during in Pride in London celebration in Trafalgar Square, one of my favourite places in London.
|Lorenzo takes a break from photography in Trafalgar Square|
Photography: Lorenzo Hernandez www.photolorenzohernandez.com