It’s a 400 year old play, and yet it can feel as contemporary as today’s headlines. In Julius Caesar Bloody and brutal decisions are weighed against honor and ambition.
“It’s difficult to think about and talk about this play without necessarily being aware of our current political climate,” said Artistic Director George Mount at the first rehearsal for Julius Caesar. “We’re living in a highly charged political time right now. It’s why I picked the play. And we’re not the only Shakespeare Company in the country that’s doing it.”
Mount’s productions will leap backwards in time from the 21st century to the 1st century as the action unfolds in Julius Caesar. “What I think is fantastic about the way Shakespeare approaches this political play is that he leaves a lot of apolitical options,” said Mount. “There are just as many negative aspects of the people who you think are the heroes and just as many positive aspects of the people you think are the villains. It’s what gives this play life to be a mirror for whatever time it is being presented.”
In Julius Caesar, after the adoring public raises the charismatic Caesar to power, political factions question the leader’s motives and growing influence. Whispers of mutiny rumble through the corridors of power. Brutus and Cassius reach a dire conclusion that will set their country on the edge of collapse.
The show will begin outside a building inspired by Greco-Roman architecture similar to many of our nation’s governmental institutions. The time is now and Caesar returns from a war and is trying to transition to civilian life. Contemporary clothing and modern accessories give way to tunics and gladiator swords as the event in Julius Caesar become more violent.
Julius Caesar runs at the Cornish Playhouse Sept. 13-Oct. 1, 2107.