Tag Archives: Colleen Wheeler

The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius On Now At The Cultch

27 Nov

TheSocietyThe Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius might give you a lot to talk about the next day, but from chatting to a few audience members afterwards, I’d say we were all pretty much speechless as our initial reaction.

Colleen Murphy’s version is very much faithful to the plot of Shakespeare’s first tragedy, though, which includes parents murdering their children, rape, mutilation, crucifixion, and cannibalism. Oh, and some jokes about race, while Murphy adds in a few jokes of her own about class to make sure the play touches every third rail.

I was shocked to learn that ‘revenge tragedy’ bloodbaths were extremely popular with Elizabethan audiences for about 10 seconds, before I remembered that ‘torture porn’ is a popular category today. (Not to mention ‘woman in peril,’ which is wildly popular.)

Fans of Mump and Smoot might enjoy the similar style with people who act on every impulse and live-action cartoon violence, but this play digs into thornier issues. There are some big laughs, and the play is so funny in places that I found myself laughing again even after I thought they had gotten too offensive and lost me.

I respect what Murphy is trying to do here too much to go into detail and spoil the shock value of it, even if I don’t quite know what it is that she’s trying to do. Maybe gesturing towards some sort of point without quite having one is part of how she’s mocking us – but in any case I respect a play that’s worth still rolling around in your mind and trying to decide what to think of it for the next couple days.  The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius is on now at The Cultch until December 3rd.

By Contributing Writer: Tiva Quinn

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