In the Shakespearean canon, “Titus Andronicus” sticks out like a sore, bloody thumb.
Written at a time when playwrights and audiences were really into revenge tragedies, Shakespeare decided to make the genre his own by going all-out with the guts and gore. The play eventually developed a reputation as “the poor man’s ‘Lear’” since, in some scholars’ opinions, it lacked the sophistication of “King Lear.”
“Titus Andronicus” is like a good horror flick, which is what drew Kentucky Shakespeare producing artistic director Matt Wallace to the play last fall.
“I started looking and thinking about all the people who go to haunted houses and are looking for themed events around Halloween and October,” Wallace said. “Well, what if we did it, but we combined great literature and made it that exciting?”
The concept was a resounding success — the company staged “Titus” in a Butchertown warehouse and played to sold-out crowds.
Now, Wallace is bringing the same production to a different warehouse in a different neighborhood — the Louisville Visual Art building in Portland.
“As you know, we are always branching out into more parts of the community,” Wallace said. “Last year, we toured 23 parks and 18 libraries — so we’ve performed here, but we’ve never sat down for a month to perform here.”
He said the move is about increasing citywide access to the arts.
“We like the idea of popping up in different areas of the city,” Wallace said. “We love the idea of performing in Portland.”
The production will run until Oct. 31.