Department of English Publications

Title

Rape’s Metatheatrical Return: Rehearsing Sexual Violence Among the Early Moderns

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2006

Journal

Theatre Journal

Volume

58

Issue

1

First Page

53

Last Page

72

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/tj.2006.0089

Abstract

What happens when theatre crosses the line, risks danger in the real? This paper explores the pernicious theatricalization of sexual violence in early modern England, its trouble-making uptake in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and Julie Taymor's contemporary response in her 1999 film version of the play. Along the way the article probes a handful of questions about theatre's social efficacy: what are the consequences of understanding theatre as a potentially malevolent form of public art and expression? How do we account for those moments when theatre poses genuine risk? And, more importantly, how do we build a response to, an ethics of, that risk into our own work as scholars and practitioners?