Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Julius Caesar"

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note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Larry Stark


"Julius Caesar"

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Arthur Nauzyciel

Set Design by Riccardo Hernandez
Lighting Design by Scott Zielinski
Costume Design by James Schuette
Sound Design by David Remedios
Dance by Damien Jalet
Assistant Dramaturg Sean Bartley, Marshall Botvinick
Casting Judy Bowman
Production Associate Elizabeth Bouchard
Assistant Stage Manager Amy James
Stage Manager Chris De Camillis

Marcus Brutus............Jim True-Frost
Portia/Calpurnia....Sara Kathryn Bakker
Lucius, The Boy.............Jared Craig
Julius Caesar.............Thomas Derrah
Cassius..............Mark L. Montgomery
Trebonius.....................Daniel Le
Decius Brutus......Neil Patrick Stewart
Metellus Cimber........Gardiner Comfort
Cinna.....................Perry Jackson
Mark Antony.............James Waterston
Octavius...................Thomas Kelly
Lepidus......................Will LeBow
Cicero.....................Jeremy Geidt
Soothsayer.................Kunal Prasad

Jazz Trio
Bass.........Blake Newman
Guitar......Eric Hofbauer
Singer...Marianne Solivan

The biggest, clearest, boldest word on my ticket to "Julius Caesar" last night at the Loeb Drama Center was this one:

REAR

That made sense when I noticed it after enduring this chilly abstraction to the bitter End. At that point in this turgid monotone, visiting director Arthur Nauzyciel asked the entire fifteen-member A.R.T. cast to line up across the cavernous stage, back to the audience, and thus bow toward designer Riccardo Hernandez's drop-curtain representation of an enormous empty Cow Palace of empty seats. That gesture, making serious actors all show their asses to the paying public, is the perfect symbol of the A.R.T.'s "Mission" here in Cambridge --- their utter contempt for the people gullible enough to pay money and take their self-indulgences seriously.

A late, rushed insert to the program has a footnote in which Director Nauzyciel tried to justify his flat, pause-heavy, stultifying and ridiculously over-long reading of the play. Forced to remember the show, I found none of his assertions obvious on the stage.
But then, any performance that needs a Footnote to become comprehensible is not worth the money nor the time wasted in seeing it.

I'm told I dozed occasionally in Act One.
I could have slept better at home, and I recommend anyone really interested in Shakespeare's work to vote A.S.P. and not A.R.T. any time the choice presents itself. I think the only people who benefitted from this expensively airless production were the many who left their own empty seats behind when they went home in the act-break.

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark) Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 16:24:23 +0000
From: edwinb314@comcast.net
Subject: Julius Caesar

Dear Larry,
As one of a quartet of people who left the ART's "Julius Caesar" at the intermission a few days ago, I was bowled over by the disconnect between the unbelievable quotes used by the ART in their recent promotion and your presentation of the reality of the experience. In some respects I regret not staying for the second half so I could always share in the remembered agony of those who did. My three companions being less inclined to martyrdom, we preceded directly to the chocolate shop to recuperate.

You are to be commended for your flat-out statement about the general approach of the ART to such classics. Although we have seen one Shakespeare there that we found admirable (Romeo and Juliet) of a few seasons ago, your words and our usual experience will be strong motivation NOT to repeat the experiment in the future.

With best regards and thanks for your statements. You brought some heat to an indeed chilly memory.
Edwin
Edwin F. Beschler

"Julius Caesar" (9 February - 16 March)
AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATRE
@ Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, CAMBRIDGE MA
1(617)547-8300


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |