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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
IRT's Drive Through Julius Caesar
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1099  Monday, 22 April 2002

From:           Marcia Eppich-Harris <
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Date:           Sunday, 21 Apr 2002 23:31:25 -0500
Subject:        IRT's Drive Through Julius Caesar

Hello fellow Bardolators,

My husband and I, as well as two friends, went to see Indiana Repertory
Theater's production of Julius Caesar (Dir. by John Green) this weekend,
and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

The first thing I would like to mention is that I'd never seen JC
before, and I was really looking forward to it. JC was the first
Shakespeare play I had ever read that (1) make sense to me, (2) I
enjoyed, and (3) it has always, therefore, held a place in my heart, in
spite of several of my teachers' lack of reverence for it. I read it as
a sophomore in high school (for the first time), and I was really
engaged in it -- which is probably why I thought my freshmen (in
college) class could handle Shakespeare too, but that's another story
for another post...

Anyway, the IRT has a pretty good reputation, and so I thought that this
production would be nice to see. The first thing that should have tipped
me off, though, is that the production was being advertised as a 90
minute production, which somehow seems at least an hour too short, and
there was no intermission. I think that since almost all sophomores in
high school (at least in Indiana) read JC, the reason they cut it so
ridiculously short was to get the revenue from high schools coming in to
see the performance.  The acting, I will say, was excellent. I felt
sorry for the actors though.  They were dressed in typical political
attire of modern times (wintry style for March, I suppose): three piece
suits, overcoats, gloves, and some of them had hats. It must have been
miserably hot for the actors. They also used box cutter knives in the
assassination scene, which was an interesting nod toward Sept. 11, but I
don't know if we think of Brutus et. al. as terrorists per se. Thoughts?

What was really depressing was that any effort Shakespeare may have made
some four hundred years ago to develop both characters and their
relationships was for the most part completely cut. I was not convinced
that Brutus loved JC, but there wasn't any time to see any of that. For
a spectator who loves the play JC, this was a depressingly brief showing
of the play. For high school kids, whose attention spans won't last
through the first half hour, it'll probably still be too long because
much of the substance of the play has been cut, so why should they care
in the first place?? There were some very cool visuals, however, so
maybe they won't be bored to death/sleep terribly early on, but this
production was clearly not geared toward those who love Shakespeare.
It's more likely geared toward highly visually thinking high school
students who will be more excited about getting out of school for a
field trip than anything else. This production, to me, is just another
result of our "fast food" lifestyles--Drive Through Julius Caesar.

"How many ages hence Shall this our lofty scene be acted over [WITH
TERRIBLE BREVITY AND COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT] In
states unborn and accents yet unknown!"(3.1.112-4, and some elaboration)

Shrug,
Marcia

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