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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Julius Caesar

Also see Susan's reviews of The School For Scandal and Antony and Cleopatra

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of Julius Caesar crackles with intrigue and emotion. While the production of Antony and Cleopatra running as the other part of the Washington company's "Roman Repertory" is leisurely in its pacing and often drags, Julius Caesar seldom lets up as it shows how politicians use presentation (and, at times, fabrication) to shape their message.

In the conception of director David Muse, Julius Caesar (Dan Kremer) makes his first entrance with an appearance of supreme confidence, celebrating his victorious return to Rome with a parade of banners bearing a larger-than-life graphic of his face. However, when Caesar attempts to laugh at the tattered, dust-covered soothsayer (Kryztov Lindquist) warning him to beware the Ides of March, his hand shakes, showing he's not as secure as he pretends to be.

This production spends a lot of time peeking behind the curtains of power. The audience observes the clear manipulation of Caius Cassius (Scott Parkinson) as he persuades Marcus Brutus (Tom Hammond) to join the plot to assassinate Caesar, and ultimately to take the fall. Muse and fight director Rick Sordelet have staged the attack itself with a mixture of grace and athleticism, as well as emphatic spurts of blood.

What goes around comes around, of course, with the reaction of Caesar's supporter Mark Antony (Andrew Long): a man whose love of drinking and partying leads the conspirators to consider him a lightweight. Long demonstrates great personal magnetism as he uses his funeral oration for Caesar to sway the Roman populace and recast the supposed patriots as traitors.

In the overwhelmingly male world of this play, Kim Martin-Cotten and Nancy Rodriguez stand out as, respectively, the largely powerless wives of Caesar and Brutus. Another notable cast member is composer and percussionist Martin Desjardins, who provides a hypnotic variety of tonal and rhythmic effects from a position above the stage.

James Noone's set, with its broad platforms, tall doorways and collapsible staircases, provides a vast canvas for a large company of actors. Lighting designer Mark McCullough has devised a cinematic effect to keep the focus on the drama of individual people: using pinpoint spotlights on small conversations in the midst of the crowd.

Shakespeare Theatre Company
Julius Caesar April 27th July 6th, in repertory with Antony and Cleopatra
By William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar: Dan Kremer
Calphurnia, his wife: Kim Martin-Cotten
Triumvirs after the death of Julius Caesar:
Octavius Caesar: Aubrey K. Deeker
Mark Antony: Andrew Long
Lepidus: Ted van Griethuysen
Conspirators against Julius Caesar:
Marcus Brutus: Tom Hammond
Caius Cassius: Scott Parkinson
Caska: Dean Nolen
Decius Brutus: Glen Pannell
Trebonius: Ethan T. Bowen
Caius Ligarius: Craig Wallace
Metellus Cimber: Tyrone Mitchell Henderson
Cinna: Kurt Rhoads
Portia, wife to Marcus Brutus: Nancy Rodriguez
Lucius, servant to Marcus Brutus: J. Garrett Brennan
Tribunes of the People: Murellus: Michael Sharon
Flavius: Jan Knightley
A Soothsayer: Kryztov Lindquist
A Cobbler: Ted van Griethuysen
Cicero, a senator: Robert Jason Jackson
Cinna, a poet: Peter Stray
Another Poet: Robert Jason Jackson
Officers and soldiers in the armies of Brutus and Cassius:
Lucilius: Michael Sharon
Titinius: Craig Wallace
Ventidius: Kurt Rhoads
Volumnius: Kryztov Lindquist
Pindarus: Jan Knightley
Thidias: Tyrone Mitchell Henderson
Ensemble: John Brennan, Brian Clarke, Blake DeLong, Catherine Frels, Adriano Gatto, Kenric Green, Richard Huffman, Jair Kamperveen, Craig Klein, Steve Lotterman, Kaitlin Manning, John-Michael Marrs, Kaytie Morris, Steve Nixon, Kevin Pierson, Cameron Pippitt, Armand Sindoni, James Svatko, Matt Volner, S. Matthew Wilburn
Directed by David Muse
Harman Center for the Arts, Sidney Harman Hall
610 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-547-1122 or 877-487-8849 or www.shakespearetheatre.org


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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