Theatre-Goers In Shock Over Gore At The Globe
Nine theatregoers have fainted in the first fortnight of The Globe's blood-soaked production of Titus Andronicus, it has been revealed.
The tragedy is Shakespeare's most violent and brutal work.
First aiders are on stand by at every performance of Lucy Bailey's version of the play, just in case people pass out.
The director told Sky News: "I think there's something interesting about theatre in that there is nothing between the eye and the image.
"People take the blood - which is obviously stage blood - at face value. So when they see blood come out of the mouth and they can't understand how it has got there, they understand it as real at that moment."
In this revival of a 2006 production, there are graphic images of mutilation, rape, murder, cannibalism and a live burial.
"There is a build up of violence in the piece," says Bailey.
"It can get to a point where an actor will come on and say 'I will chop off your hand' and on the word 'chop' you can almost guarantee that someone is going to faint.
"That I find fantastic, because it is the power of listening. It is not about the blood, it is that they are so involved in the story that it will just overwhelm them at that moment."
There are 14 deaths throughout the course of the play and it is probably one of the darkest productions ever staged at The Globe.
The majority of those who have fainted so far have done so while watching the play on their feet in the 'yard' of the open-air theatre.
As the weather gets warmer, the number of people who pass out every week is expected to rise.
Titus Andronicus was very rarely staged during the Victorian era, as the piece was widely considered to be distasteful in its violence.
But in Elizabethan times, the play was incredibly popular.
"It was a very early play and it was written by a young Shakespeare and I think it was to some extent a crowd-pleaser," adds Bailey.
"People were coming to these theatres to see bears being ripped apart by dogs and on an alternate day there would be a play. So the play itself in some ways highlights the bloodlust that was very present for the Elizabethan audience."
Titus Andronicus runs at The Globe theatre until July 13.