Q&A: Shakespeare In High Park - Titus Andronicus

Director Keira Loughran on helming a contemporary production of Titus Andronicus in High Park

Presented by Canadian Stage in collaboration with the Department of Theatre, York University
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Keira Loughran

Keira Loughran

It's that time of year again: Toronto audiences are invited to enjoy Shakespeare in High Park—a favourite summer tradition. In keeping with last year's offering, Canadian Stage is collaborating with the Department of Theatre, York University to present both comedy and tragedy under the stars: As You Like It and Titus Andronicus will play on alternating nights until August 31.

Here, we chat with Titus Andronicus director Keira Loughran about her unique approach to Shakespeare's most violent work.

Theatromania: How would you describe this new production of Titus Andronicus in a few sentences?

KL: A thrilling, high-octane examination of the human capacity for violence and its corresponding contemporary imperative of humility and grace.

Theatromania: What inspired you to incorporate influences from Japan and ancient Rome?

KL: The play is set in ancient Rome, but it is fictional which happily opens the door to artistic licencethough to ignore possible inspiration points from ancient Rome seems foolish. The idea of Honour, which is very strong in the play, led me immediately to samurai culture of ancient Japan. I then discovered in contemporary youth punk culture in Tokyo, the rich, entitled young people that was also a dominant impression I saw in the play. This continuum through Japan allowed me to draw on my personal practice of aikido for the physical training that is part of my rehearsal process. Intuitively, a contemporary connection feels vitally important to me for this particular production.

Theatromania: What are some of the challenges in staging this particular play?

KL: Where to start...There are more deaths in the play than actors? The three hour text has to play in 90 minutes? It's a family friendly tradition at the mercy of the gods of weather? That being said, I do love a challenge.

Theatromania: What has been the best part of this experience for you personally so far?

KL: By far it's been the degree and level of collaboration from the 12 actors, the creative team, and the production team at the park. Everyone is bringing their best game forward. Being at the helm of that is challenging, energizing, demanding and humbling. The collective BBQ dinners are a close second though...

Titus Andronicus and As You Like it play on alternating nights from June 26 to August 31 at the High Park Ampitheatre. Visit canadianstage.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Backstage Tours
Select Thursdays and Fridays: FREE backstage tour of the High Park Amphitheatre before the show. Get a behind-the-scenes look and the inside scoop about Shakespeare in High Park. Check the show list below to see when the next backstage tour will be.

Youth Nights
Titus Andronicus: Wednesday, July 9 and Wednesday, July 23
As You Like It: Tuesday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 29

Under 21? Check out Youth Night! This is your chance to participate in an artist-run workshop, get a backstage tour, and see a free performance of Titus Andronicus or As You Like It. Send an email with your name and age to youth@canadianstage.com for details.

Show Dates: 
Thu, 2014-06-26 - Sun, 2014-08-31


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