SubPlot Studios invited me to take part in designing a theater poster to sell on their shiny new website. Their main goal is to make quality and affordable poster designs available to theatre companies, high schools, and other professional venues that might otherwise not have the funds to create unique designs to promote their shows. By doing so they hope to support the performing arts in our communities and schools, while working with an array of talented artists along the way.
Here is a direct link to the poster: Titus Andronicus. If you scroll over the image you will get a feel for how fully customizable it is.
I got to choose the play, which was a pretty nice incentive. There were many great plays on the list that I would have loved to work on, but when I saw Titus Andronicus was available I felt like it was one I just couldn't pass up. It's a play I studied in college, and I remember feeling struck by it then. The blood? The animal references? How could I pass that up?
There is so much going on in Titus Andronicus, and you could hardly claim any of it to be pretty. It's considered one of Shakespeare's most violent plays, and often is looked down on as being nothing more then shock and awe. Though it is crazy violent, I find it incredibly interesting. Revenge and betrayal are the blatant themes, but the more interesting ones (at least to me) involve gender, race and power. I don't think you can capture it all in one poster. Well... maybe you can but it might make you sick, and I was looking to make something simple, striking and not terribly vomit inducing.
With so many themes to pick from I decided to focus on the character I dwell on the most and the part of the story that strikes me hardest: the rape and torture of Titus's daughter Lavinia.
Lavinia is used as a symbol of Rome, where the story takes place. Her rape is compared to its fall. Her attackers described as tigers and wild beasts. Titus even says, "...dost thou not perceive that Rome is but a wilderness of tigers? Tigers must prey, and Rome affords no prey but me and mine." Wild animals, hunting, and dismembered body parts (particularly hands) are mentioned throughout the play, and were other aspects I chose to highlight in the illustration.
I'm going to indulge in some personal thoughts on the play from here on out. It's a brutal topic, so if you don't wish to feel incredibly depressed you may not want to read on. That being said, if you don't mind some heartbreak and upset, please read on and let me know your thoughts.