Bodycount, Part 2

Ok, the Bodycount game seems to be a clear win for Titus. So here’s version two of the game: which *play* has the highest onstage bodycount? The rules for this one are easier – how many bodies hit the floor? Note – dying offstage in this version does not count (Mercutio) unless your dead body is brought back on stage for some reason (Cordelia). So to kj’s point in the earlier thread, you can talk about the legions of dead all you want, but unless they’re lying at your feet, they don’t count. Somebody needs to go from on their feet to on their back.

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7 thoughts on “Bodycount, Part 2

  1. I'm still going to say Titus.

    Bassianus goes first.

    Quintus and Martius's heads come back on on stage, Chiron and Demetrius come back as pies.

    Titus kills Mutius, Lavinia, and Tamora. Saturnius kills Titus. Lucius kills Saturnius.

    Aaron kills the nurse.

    That's all on stage/bodies brought on.

    THEN: Aaron's death is implied because he's going to be buried and starved.

    And we're not counting Titus's 21 sons that are dead in the beginning, right?

  2. If we go for offstage deaths where the bodies are brought on, Lear is up there as well. Not quite as many as Titus, although a director could have a lot of fun with the battle scenes in regards to numbers of dead bodies. And instead of meat pies, you do have some interesting eye-gouging, just to up the gore factor.

  3. Just a promotion for a contemporary of Shakespeare's — I love the blood bath in Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy.

    The ghost of Don Andrea is present through the entire show.

    Horatio is shot onstage. Later his dead body gets brought out.

    Serberine is shot onstage.

    Pedringano is hanged onstage.

    Isabella mortally wounds herself onstage.

    Then at the end the following people are killed: Bel-imperia, Lorenzo, Balthazar, Don Cyprian, and Hieronimo.

  4. Charlene brings up a question I'd never really thought of — is anyone ever shot in a Shakespeare play? I'm trying to remember any stage directions to that effect and all I keep coming up with is stab wounds.

  5. I saw period production of Richard II where Bushy and Green were shot onstage. I think, however, that was a directorial emendation, as they are executed by unknown means offstage in the text.

    It's funny, even in plays where there are definitely guns present in the world of the story ("food for powder, food for powder"), character deaths tend to be by sickness, edged weapon, or hanging. Does anybody recall a named character being shot on or (more likely) off stage?

  6. Isn't there a famous movie interpretation of Hamlet where Fortinbras' "Go, bid the soldiers shoot" line is an order to execute Horatio?

    It's a weird realization. In fact I remember seeing a Hamlet once where they did in fact have guns instead of swords and I remember thinking "Guns? GUNS?? WTF??" as if that was this giant anachronism, but really, it made perfect sense.

  7. I've heard that interpretation, but I think it's just odd for the sake of being odd. Why execute Horatio? He's the only unbiased witness who could confirm that Fortinbras stumbled across the bodies and didn't kill the Danish royal court himself.

    But yes, you're right, guns come up there in Hamlet, and in a couple other places. They were probably fired offstage to make sound effects–isn't the story that the Globe caught fire due to a cannon effect during a production of Henry VIII?

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