Austin likes its hellish Halloweens and on that score Titus Andronicus deserves standing-room-only audiences and ticket queues around the block, down there on César Chávez Avenue just a few blocks east of Interstate 35.
Forget all that stuff about Shakespeare they taught you in high school and college. This one he wrote really early in his career, in 1591 or so when he had only a couple of comedies and the three-part history Henry VI under his belt. The wannabe playwright gleefully embraced the new and popular genre of the blood-and-gore revenge tragedy pioneered by Thomas Kyd with The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again (ca. 1585, published in 1592).
Looking for shivers? Try these: agéd Roman general Titus Andronicus returns to Rome after forty years of battles in which twenty-one of his twenty-five sons have been killed. He parades in captured Goth queen Tamora and her three sons; despite her pleading he orders his troops to take reprisal by killing the eldest and burning his corpse. Titus refuses the people's choice of him as their emperor and moves them to acclaim Saturninus, son of the former emperor.
Now emperor, Saturninus selects Titus' daughter Lavinia as his wife, thereby depriving his brother Bassanius of a sweetheart; Titus' sons refuse and spirit away their sister. Furious at this disobedience, Titus kills his own son Martius. Only after Titus' brother Marcus intervenes does the old warrior permit them to place the corpse of Martius in the family mausoleum. Annoyed at Bassanius' "rape" -- kidnapping -- of Lavinia, the emperor decides to take Goth queen Tamora to wife, giving her and her two remaining sons Roman citizenship. Tamora counsels new hubby Emperor Saturninus to stay calm, promising him "I'll find a day to massacre them all,/and raze their faction and their family. . . "
And that's just the first act.