Friends, Romans, Countrymen…lend me your ears! Hear ye’ Bard on the Beach has opened its second mainstage production, Julius Caesar.
Running in repertoire with As You Like It until September 24th, Director Cherissa Richards and a brilliant cast and creative team brings the captivating political drama to the BMO Mainstage for the first time in Bard history, having previously been presented on the Howard Family Stage in 2007. Based on the audience reaction to the outstanding performances presented on stage, it’s unlikely to be the last time the intriguing play makes its way to Bard on the Beach.
Aided by Jessica Oostergo’s detailed costumes, Richards take the audience on a journey through the history of war from the Napoleonic era to modern televised rebellions. In this context, the timeless story of Julius Caesar, feels that much more contemporary when placed against much of today’s political intrigue – divisiveness, mistrust, ambition plus the drive to attain and hold on to power at all costs echo what we see on the nightly news. Lead by Andrew McNee and Emma Slipp as by co-conspirators Brutus and Cassius, with Jennifer Lines as Marc Anthony and Andrew Wheeler as the ill-fated Julius Caesar, the cast keeps the 2000 year old story feeling up to date. With the entire cast also players in the slapstick comedy As You Like It, switching to this demanding dramatic performance highlights their immense skill, which we audience members get the benefit and pleasure of watching.
Completing the production, Pam Johnson’s Set Design makes creative and functional use of columns and capitals to portray the Roman capital. Gerald King’s moody lighting, plays well with Candelario Andrade’s video visuals with along with sound by Kate De Lorme all keeping the audience on alert to the the intensifying drama. In the hands of the entire creative team Julius Caesar is a powerful and captivating drama, which like a battle campaign, moves at a rapid pace from peak to peak. Even though we all know to ‘beware the ides of march’ there’s still plenty to keep us on the edge of our seats.
Julius Caesar plays in repertoire with As You Like It on the Bard on the Beach mainstage until September. Visit bardonthebeach.org to find showtimes and tickets.