“So I should rob my sweet sons of their fee?
No; let them satisfy their lust on thee!”
—Tamora, Queen of the Goths

TITUS ANDRONICUS by William Shakespeare.  Thoroughly abridged and modernized by le Marquis Déjà Dû

Tamora Gets Wiggy


SCENE I. Rome. A Street.
 Enter Senators, Tribunes, and other politicians with Martius and Quintus bound and gagged on their way to the chopping block; Titus follows them in a mad, crying jag.
Titus:Oh please let my sons go! After all I’ve done for Rome, you have to let my little boys go! Oh please listen to me!
 Exeunt Senators, Tribunes, &c.
Titus:(falling to the ground, weeping on rocks) Oh my poor poor boys. My poor boys. Oh! Boo hoo!
 Enter Lucius with sword drawn.
Lucius:Dad. No one’s here. You’re talking to rocks.
Titus:Oh my poor, poor boys! … Um, why do you have your sword out?
Lucius:I was just trying to save my brothers, but they caught me and banished me from Rome. I gotta go.
Titus:Oh good. Go. Be safe. You’re lucky to get out of this hell-hole. I hate this fucking city!
 Enter Marcus and Lavinia.
Marcus:Titus, you’re not going to believe this one.
Titus:Oh Christ, what!? (Marcus presents Lavinia.)
Titus:Get up Lucius. It’s unmanly to faint. Lavinia, who cut off your hands? I’d like to cut my own hands off! That’ll show ‘em! Who did this to you?
Marcus:Umm, her tongue’s gone too. Can’t answer. Titus, are you all right? You look pale.
Titus:One helluva day! My two sons are condemned to death, the other, banished, my daughter’s husband murdered, my daughter maimed, and my brother crying his eyes out too. Oh what a shitty day! Let’s all cut off our hands and bite off our tongues! I’ve had it!
Lucius:Dad, you’re upsetting Lavinia. I’ll wipe her tears.
Titus:If you can find a dry Kleenex!
 Enter Aaron.
Aaron:Saturninus says that if one of you chops off a hand and sends it to him, he’ll free Quintus and Martius.
Titus:I’ll do it!
Lucius:No, let me!
Marcus:Pick me! Pick me!
Aaron:Well, somebody better lose a hand quick or it will be too late. They’re at the chopping block.
Titus:I’ll do it. Aaron, will you do the chopping please?
Aaron:This is going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you. (Aside:) Nyah-nyah-nyahh. (He chops off Titus’ hand)
Titus:Argh! Here. Take this to Saturninus.
Aaron:Will do. Soon you’ll see your sons. (Aside:) Part of them anyway. Nyah-nyah-nyahhh.
Titus:Oh, oh, oh! I’m so miserable. Everyone’s so miserale.
Marcus:Do you have to be so depressing?
Titus:It makes me feel a little better to purge my emotions by wailing and crying. I swear I’m teetering on the edge of my sanity. If one more thing goes wrong today, I’ll fucking snap!
 Enter a Messenger, with two heads and a hand on a plate.
Messenger:Titus, thou hast been dissed. Insult to injury, old boy.
Lucius:Wahhh! (Lavinia plants a wet, bloody kiss on his lips.) Ptooie!
Marcus:Look Titus. Your two sons’ heads, your own hand, your fucked-up daughter, and your other son, banished. Don’t you feel like killing yourself?
Titus:Ha ha ha ha ha!
Marcus:What the fuck?
Titus:Sorry, I’m cracking up. Okay. Let’s plan some revenge. Marcus, take a head. I’ll take the other. Here Lavinia, honey, hold daddy’s hand in your mouth like a good little girl? There ya’ go. You, Lucius, get out of town quick! All right, guys, let’s get busy.

Lavinia with Dad's Hand
SCENE II. A Room in Titus’ House.
 Enter Titus, Marcus, Lavinia, and Lucius’ young son, cleverly named Young Lucius. A feast is laid out.
Titus:(to Lavinia:) Doesn’t it suck not having hands? I bet if you put a knife in your mouth you could stab yourself through the chest … might be a good idea…
Marcus:Titus! Stop it!
Titus:Well? She’d probably be better off.
Young Lucius:Wahh! Gwampah’s being mean to Aunt Lavinia!
Marcus:Now you’ve upset the boy.
Titus:Sigh. Better get used to unhappiness, kiddo. It’s all you have to look forward to.
 Marcus stikes the dish with a knife.
Titus:What the hell!?
Marcus:Calm down, Titus. Just killing a fly.
Titus:Get out of my house mutherfucker! There’s been enough killing for one day! Why do you have to aggravate the situation?
Marcus:Shit, Titus, it’s a fucking fly!
Titus:(weeping) Poor, poor little fly.
Marcus:It reminded me of Aaron.
Titus:Oh! In that case … (he takes the knife and stabs the mutilated fly repeatedly) Take that! And that and that! And one for Tamora, too!
Marcus:Oh my.
Titus:That’s it. Dinner’s over. Let’s go read some Sartre.


SCENE I. The same. Before Titus’ House.
 Enter Titus and Marcus, then Young Lucius, being chased by Lavinia, waving her stumps around wildly.
Young Lucius:Wahhh! Aunt Lavinia’s after me!
Marcus:She won’t bite.
Young Lucius:She’s scaring me!
 Lavinia kicks some of Lucius’ books around, gesticulating wildly.
Titus:I think she’s trying to tell us something. The book she’s bleeding on is the story of a rape and maiming. Can you tell us who did this to you?
Marcus:Here. Go like this.
 Marcus draws in the dirt with a stick. Lavinia takes the stick between her stumps and writes out “Chiron & Demetrius”.
Titus:Oh my god.
Marcus:I’ll fucking kill them.
Titus:Little Lucius, I want you to deliver some special symbolic weapons with poignant poetry written on them to those two bastards. Literature can kill!
Young Lucius:I’ll kill ‘em both, I swear I will!
Titus:Whoa there little man. Just take these spears and things and play nice-nice. Grandpa’s got a plan.

SCENE II. The same. A Room in the Palace.
 Enter Aaron, Chiron, and Demetrius on one side. Young Lucius with a shitload of weapons on the other.
Young Lucius:Hi.
Demetrius:Um … hi.
Young Lucius:Here’s some weapons for ya from my gwampah. (he leaves)
Demetrius:There’s some writing attached to this one. Hmm, obscure Roman literature. I can’t read Latin. Wonder what it means.
Aaron:(aside:) I am familiar with this obscure passage. Is says to me that Titus has figured out who fucked up Lavinia. Better be careful. (to the boys:) Isn’t that a lovely present! Aren’t you the lucky duckies!
Demetrius:Yah. Kinda weird of him to send us this stuff to us though.
Aaron:I wouldn’t think about it too much. Look, here comes a haggard nurse.
 Enter a Nurse with a black child in a blanket.
Nurse:Anyone here named Aaron?
Nurse:Well, here’s your child. Tamora just gave birth. We’re screwed if this news hits the tabloids.
Aaron:Why do you say that? It’s a lovely baby!
Nurse:Yah, but it’s black. Tamora wants you to kill it.
Aaron:Bitch! Black is beautiful!
Demetrius:Did you screw my mom, Aaron?
Chiron:Yah, did you?
Aaron:Yah, I did! So?
Demetrius:That baby’s gotta die.
Aaron:The hell it will!
Nurse:That’s what the empress wants.
Aaron:Too bad. It’s my baby! You two, put your swords away. This is your brother after all.
Demetrius:This is so embarrassing.
Aaron:The kid lives. If you try anything, I’ll kill you.
Demetrius:Okay then. What do you suggest we should do?
Aaron:Nurse, how many people know of this baby?
Nurse:Um, let’s see … me, a midwife, and Tamora of course. Three. That’s it.
Aaron:That’s one too many. (He stabs her.)
Aaron:Hmm, she died just like a pig.
Demetrius:Aw, why’d you kill mom’s nurse?
Aaron:You know how the help will talk. Now remove this wretched nurse. Oh, and send that midwife to me. She’s gotta go, too.
Chiron:Wow, you’re really serious about all this. Okay. Mom would be proud.
 Exeunt Chiron and Demetrius.
Aaron:Aww, widdle cutey-wootie-boots. Daddy’s widdle warrior…

SCENE III. The same. A public Place.
 Enter Titus with a bunch of arrows with notes attached to the ends, Young Lucius, Marcus and Marcus’ son, Publius.
Titus:More literature until they puke! Attached to each of these arrows is an invocation to Roman gods, both known and obscure. Let’s fire them over the walls of the castle and scare the shit out of Saturninus.
 They shoot the arrows.
Titus:Good job everyone! I’m not sure what that accomplished, but good job!
 Enter an Annoying Clown.
Annoying Clown:Hi-ho. A-hilp, a-hilp, a-hilp.
Titus:Are you the mailman?
Annoying Clown:I’m a fuckin’ clown. Hardy-har-har.
Titus:Then why are you carrying that mail?
Annoying Clown:They’re pigeons. I’m taking them for a walk.
Titus:I want you to deliver this dirty note to the emporer, along with those pigeons.
Annoying Clown:Zowie! My pigeons! I don’t wanna!
Titus:Don’t fuck with me right now. I’m not in the mood.
Annoying Clown:Oh, all right Mister Man. Give me your note then.

SCENE IV. The same. Before the Palace.
 Enter Saturninus, Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius. Saturninus holds a bunch of arrows shot by Titus.
Saturninus:What the goddamn hell is going on around here!? What are all these arrows with letters to gods flying into my palace for? I’m emperor, godammit! This is irritating!
Tamora:Shh now, darling. It just that old Titus who’s obviously gone crazy from all his silly-nelly loss today. (mumbling to herself:) Ha! Got him! Score points for Tamora.
 Enter Annoying Clown.
Annoying Clown:Hiedi-hoooo!
Saturninus:What the hell do you want, Annoying Clown?
Annoying Clown:To give you this letter. Waka-waka-waka.
 Saturninus reads the letter.
Saturninus:Off with his head!
Annoying Clown:Wait! No! Here, take all my cash!
Tamora:Come on. To the gallows with you, Annoying Clown.
Annoying Clown:Well shit. That was a waste of a role.
 Guards take Annoying Clown away.
Saturninus:Tamora honey, I don’t care if Titus is upset. He’s pissing me off. All I did was kill his sons who killed my brother!
 Tamora snickers to herself.
 Enter Æmilius.
Æmilius:Oh my god! The Goths are at the town line, led by Titus’ banished whelp of a pup, Lucius!
Saturninus:This is bad.
Tamora:No it’s not. He’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. That army sucks. Believe me I know. I used to rule it.
Saturninus:But everyone in Rome likes Lucius more than me. The peasants are mad that I banished him. There may be a revolution.
Tamora:Call a meeting with both Lucius and Titus. I’ll charm the pants off them both.
Saturninus:Go set it up, Æmelius?
 Exeunt Æmelius.
Tamora:Don’t worry honey. Everything will be fine. I’m going to slip into my sexy negligée.


SCENE I. Plains near Rome.
 Enter Lucius and Goths, armed and psyched with swords, ankhs and eyeliner.
Lucius:Okay Goths, everyone in Rome likes me better than Saturninus. We shouldn’t have any problems.
First Goth:(adjusting fishnet shirt) Weird how we’re following Titus’ son to overthrow Tamora.
Bunch of other
(spooky-dancing and taffy-pulling) Yah. What a twist.
 Enter another Goth with Aaron and his child in his arms.
Second Goth:I heard a baby crying under some rocks and found Aaron hushing it, saying he better deliver it to a Goth and explain that it’s Tamora’s. I guess he didn’t know we hated her now.
Lucius:Good job, Goth number 2! This is the asshole who made my father cut off his hand and who seduced your trashy ex-queen! Hang him from that tree over there and kill the brat!
Aaron:Don’t kill my baby. If you promise not to kill it, I’ll tell you a secret.
Lucius:What secret.
Aaron:There’s a ton of shit you don’t know. But you have to promise to keep my baby alive.
Lucius:Okay. Secrets are just that maddening. I promise. Talk, you.
Aaron:Okay, here goes. I slept with Tamora. (Gasp from the Goths.) Her two sons killed Bassianus, then raped and maimed Lavinia. (Gasp from the Goths.) Actually, I told them to do it. (Gasp from the Goths.) Then I led your brothers to that hole and framed them. (Gasp from the Goths.) I wrote the incriminating letter and buried the gold to seal the case. Then I made Titus chop off his hand in order ‘to see his sons again’. Ha-ha, geddit? He got to see their heads. Aren’t I clever? I pissed myself I laughed so hard. I told Tamora, and she got aroused and we screwed again. (Gasp from the Goths.)
Lucius:Do you have any shame?
Aaron:No. I’m black. And Shakespeare must have been an alarmingly racist bigot to write such a horrible character as me.
Lucius:How horrible?
Aaron:Well,for example, my favourite passtimes are killing people, raping broads, framing innocents, causing terminal fights between friends, killing people’s cows, burning down farms, digging up corpses and planting them on loved one’s steps with funny little notes etched into their skin … stuff like that, you know.
Lucius:Oh Christ. Don’t hang him now. I have something more fitting in mind.
 Enter yet another Goth.
Third Goth:A guy from Rome wants to talk to you.
 Enter Æmelius.
Æmelius:Hi. Saturninus wants to meet with you and Titus at Titus’ house.

SCENE II. Rome. Before Titus’ House.
 Enter Tamora, Chiron and Demetrius all in disguises. They knock on the door.
Titus:(leaning out of the upstairs window) I’m not home!
Tamora:Titus, I want to talk to you!
Titus:No, I’m depressed. I miss my hand.
Tamora:Do you know who I am?
Titus:Yah, Tamora. What, do you want my other hand now too you filthy cur?
Tamora:I’m not Tamora. She’s a meanie. I’m your friend. My name is Revenge. I come from Hell. I think you want to talk with me.
Titus:Who’s with you?
Tamora:My little fiends, Rape and Murder.
Titus:Coming. (leaves the window)
Tamora:He’s totally bonkers. He thinks I’m Revenge. Dork. Okay boys, just do what I say and follow my cues.
 Enter Titus.
Titus:Wow, you guys look an awful lot like Tamora and her rotten children. What can you do for me?
Demetrius:I kill killers.
Chiron:I kill rapists.
Tamora:And I kill the other bad guys.
Titus:Well kill the emperor, the empress and her nasty sons then. You can recognize them because they look just like you.
Tamora:Okay. But don’t you think it would be a good idea to get Lucius here and we’ll throw a party at your house where you and Lucius can kill them all yourself? It would be a totally cathartic dinner party! I’d be happy to arrange it.
Titus:Great idea! Marcus! Go get Lucius!
Marcus:(from other room) Okay!
Tamora:Well, we’re off. See you at dinner.
Titus:Wait! Let Murder and Rape stay here, or I won’t invite Lucius tonight.
Tamora:(to her sons) That okay with you kids?
Demetrius:Sure mom.
 Exeunt Tamora.
Titus:Publius! Bring your friends in here!
 Enter Publius and Friends.
Publius:Hey! It’s Tamora’s nasty sons!
Titus:That’s right! Tie them up! I’ll be right back.
 Titus leaves. Publius and his Friends tie up and gag Chiron and Demetrius. Titus reenters with Lavinia who holds a bowl in her stumps and a knife in her teeth.
Titus:Recognize my daughter you sick little monkeys? I’m going kill you both and bake pies out of you and feed them to your mother at tonight’s dinner. Lavinia, hold the bowl. (He slices their throats.) All right. I’ve got to start preparing the casserole.

Soup's On!
SCENE III. The same. A Pavilion with tables, &c.
 Enter Lucius, Marcus and Goths with Aaron their prisoner.
Lucius:Hey Uncle Marcus. I have Aaron. When Tamora shows up, we’ll make him confront her about all this nastiness.
Lucius:Oh god, take him away. He makes me sick.
 Exeunt Goths with Aaron.
Lucius:Here come the party guests.
 Enter Saturninus and Tamora, with Tribunes, Senators &c.
Saturninus:I hate you, Lucius.
Lucius:Fuck you.
Marcus:Settle down you two. Here comes dinner.
 Enter Titus dresesed as a waitress, putting plates down, and Lavinia in veils.
Titus:Hello dear emperor and Queen Bitch and all you lovely Goths with your sparkly, silver jewelry. Let’s eat.
Saturninus:Why are you wearing that frilly apron?
Titus:You just can’t get good help these days. Hey Saturninus, don’t you think rape is just awful?
Saturninus:I’ll say.
 Titus kills Lavinia.
Saturninus:Oh my god! Why the hell did you just kill your daughter?
Titus:Because she was raped and probably didn’t want to live with the shame. Well maybe she could have lived with it, but it sure was bothering me.
Saturninus:Oh, I am sorry. I didn’t know. How horrible. Do you know who did it?
Titus:Please. Eat.
Tamora:(blood trickling down her chin) Yum. This is good. I must have this recipe. But tell me why you just killed Lavinia?
Titus:Cuz your kids defiled her.
Saturninus:Really!? That’s not good. Bring them here at once then!
Titus:Actually, Tamora’s busy eating them in those lovely little pies I baked. Now it’s her turn. (kills Tamora)
Saturninus:You bastard! (kills Titus)
Lucius:Oh you motherfucker! (kills Saturninus. A great tumult. Confusion. Goths and Extras scattering everywhere.)
Senator:Well shit, who’s gonna rule Rome now?
Extras:Lucius for president! Yay!
Lucius:Oh thanks everyone. What a messy place Rome is, but I’ll try to clean it up. Bury Titus and Lavinia in their tomb. Throw that bitch-hog Tamora’s body to the dogs.
Aaron:What about me you piece o’ shit?
Lucius:Bury him to his neck and starve him till he dies.
Aaron:I’d do it all over again if I had the chance! Goddamned wops!

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