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