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Julius Caesar

a Drama
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 3568

SHOWING : October 09, 2009 - November 01, 2009



When Caesars' power becomes too great, Brutus struggles to reconcile his loyalty to a friend with the horrific deed he must carry out in the interest of his country. The "dogs of war" are unleashed in Shakespeare's historic tale of political intrigue, conspiracy and revolution.

Julius Caesar is " opulently framed, just-in-time-for-Halloween bloodbath that speaks to the horrors of assassination, mob rule and the torturous inner demons of guilt and grief....Under Richard Garner's fluent direction, the hell and heartbreak of Caesar's circle of murderers has never felt more essential and immediate. This admirable production is visually appealing, tautly paced and deliciously gory..." - Wendell Brock, Atlanta Journal

Decius Brik Berkes
Casca Allan Edwards
Soothsayer Bruce Evers
Brutus Neal A Ghant
Calpurnia Tess Malis Kincaid
Portia Susannah Millonzi
Julius Caesar Allen O'Reilly
Marc Antony David Quay
Cinna/Octavius Eugene H. Russell IV
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Caesar Sallied Forth Sullied
by playgoer
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Georgia Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is well-acted, as should be expected in a cast consisting largely of "Actor's Equality" members, as the lady behind me put it. Joe Knezevich, also assistant director, does a fine job as Cassius, and Allan Edwards adds a lot of personality to the role of Casca. The finest work, though, is done by Neal A. Ghant, as Brutus, in conjunction with the members of his household: his wife Portia, portrayed by Susannah Millonzi, and his young servant Lucius, played by Mason Cary. These are believable relationships, and there is real chemistry onstage as these characters connect.

Would that the set and costumes served the actors better. The set, consisting principally of a long staircase rising from a low platform, works well in the first act, with its Atlas-like sculptural figure supporting a landing from which speeches are proclaimed. In the second act, bungee cords are extended from poles on the landings to eyehooks on the floor and coarse fabric is used to swaddle the sculpture and a couple of railings. It doesn't look like much of anything, and it doesn't resemble a battle camp and hillside, which it presumably is meant to represent. The costumes, consisting largely of Mussolini-era formalwear, don't suit the action particularly well.

The costuming of Julius Caesar (Allen O'Reilly) is that of a preening Mussolini, and it adds a slightly comic aspect to his presence onstage. That undercuts the portentousness of the dreamed omens related by his wife Calpurnia (Tess Malis Kincaid), and leaves her nowhere to go emotionally after his murder. That comes in a scene in which Caesar's bloodied shirt, pierced by "the unkindest cut of all," is exhibited onstage, followed immediately by Caesar's corpse displayed wearing the shirt he had been murdered in. It looks to all the world like two copies of the same shirt are co-existing onstage. There doesn't seem to be any point to this, other than to allow Caesar's worn shirt to be laundered between performances.

The language in "Julius Caesar" is more difficult than in some of Shakespeare's other plays, and it's not always declaimed with clarity of diction. It's worst at the top of the show, which starts the show at a disadvantage. The booming tones of Bruce Evers, as the soothsayer, stand in stark contrast to some of the less decipherable language that has gone on before. His costuming, though, as a elegant older gentleman with a cane, strips from his role any shred of the supernatural.

David Quay, as Marc Antony, embodies some of the problems with the production. He's good looking, speaks and projects well, but comes across as colorless. Part of this is a blocking problem. When he comes in and sees Caesar's corpse, he addresses his lines directly down at Caesar. Then, at the end, he stands up and walks downstage to do the remainder of his lines. More variety of blocking in the first part of the speech would have helped a lot. We're left with a play in which the characters opposing the conspirators are either buffoonish (Caesar) or colorless (Marc Antony and Octavius). That throws off the balance of the play, and lowers the emotional stakes at play.

"Julius Caesar" moves along quickly, although not with a superabundance of fluidity. Its Mussolini-era adornments (including airplane sound effects) add nothing to Shakespeare's story, and the cast can't quite rise above the limitations of the set, costumes, and blocking. Nevertheless, it's always a pleasure to see an ensemble of Georgia Shakespeare actors playing off one another, giving their all to bring Shakespeare's 400-year-old words to life in the 21st century. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Equity by lg
Actors Equity. It's the labor union for professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Duh by fanatic
playgoer knew what it was by Okely Dokely
He was just quoting something he overheard from another audience member. People say the darndest things if you stop and listen.


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