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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Julius Caesar in Oregon
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2148  Tuesday, 29 October 2002

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Oct 2002 10:24:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon

[2]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Oct 2002 12:24:03 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 28 Oct 2002 10:24:11 -0500
Subject: 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon

>Director Laird Williamson made it clear that he equates Caesar with
>George W. in his published comments. "The chief executive of this
>government... now faces the need to dispatch military units to the
>far-flung regions of the world to combat terrorist activity bent on the
>nation's overthrow.  As commander-in-chief, he is determined to
>strengthen his war powers unfettered by obligations of accountability
>and seeks even greater authority to launch a police action in the Middle
>East."  This is his description of Caesar, but his point is quite
>clear.  To accomplish this Caesar/ George W equivalence, the text was
>altered.

It would have to be altered beyond recognition to make this point.  In
44 B.C., Caesar had long since completed his foreign conquests and, in
fact, had just consolidated his power by defeating domestic enemies.
Rome was about to enter an extended period of peace. The U.S.
government's new foreign policy is more comparable the policy of Rome
that led to the Pax Romana.

If Williamson wants to create parallels with Roman history, he might
contrast pre-emptive defense with Augustus's decision to fix the
boundaries of Rome at the Rhine, a policy which produced centuries of
bloody skirmishing and ultimately led to the fall of the Empire.
Unfortunately, WS did not write a play about that.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Monday, 28 Oct 2002 12:24:03 -0800
Subject: 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2143 Julius Caesar in Oregon

Mike Jensen's description of how Laird Williamson and his gang altered
the Ashland Julius Caesar perfectly illustrates my criticism:
Shakespeare got modernized if not twisted well past the point he would
start screaming.

Of course Mike and I saw the performance differently, even if we might
have been there the same night, but Shakespeare our contemporary was in
the audience too, and I swear I heard him complain, Hey, folks,
what'd'ya do to my play?  (My original message on that made a somewhat
grander reference to "a definite violation of what I understand British
copyright law now calls the artist's moral rights to his work.")

Al Magary

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