The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1408  Wednesday, 9 July 2003

From:           Mari Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jul 2003 11:33:30 -0400
Subject: 14.1390 Re: "Julius Caesar," 2.2.234ff and the JC at
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1390 Re: "Julius Caesar," 2.2.234ff and the JC at
Old Globe

The new production at the Old Globe in San Diego has Portia insane-- to
the point of having a nurse in uniform.  Nor did I get the sense of
stoicism or emulation of her father... just of a woman distracted beyond
her wits' ability to cope.

I saw it in preview right before it opened and overall was impressed
though several places felt flat to me.  Some brief comments:

1.  I did not, having seen his reaction to Portia in this scene,
understand Brutus' admiring comment (and it seemed to me he delivered it
with admiration).

2.  I had no idea at all of why Mark Antony would call Brutus the
noblest Roman etc-- there was no sense of admiration on his part
anywhere else.

3.  The use of players as "the crowd" was most effective during the
funeral orations-- watching Mark Antony's demagoguery sway them from
loving Brutus to seeing the conspirators as murderers struck incredible
modern cords.

4.  The setting (late in the 21st century following the collapse of the
world as we know it today) and the final moments (when Octavian is
clearly going to out-Caesar Julius) worked well (and I'm one of those
who usually loathes non-"Elizabethan" stagings).

5.  I found Cassius to be acted brilliantly, Brutus not always engaging
and sometimes even boring, Caesar presenting himself as worthy of
assassination though definitely a loving husband, and the conspirators
rather well delineated overall (not simply a mob of "minor"  men).  But
I did wonder why Cassius "introduced" Decius Brutus to Brutus-- surely
the latter would already know his uncle?

6.  Pre-opening event profile from _San Diego Times Union_:

7.  Reviewed in the July 7 edition of the _Times Union_ :

The reviewer seems to know the play outside the context of this
production, btw.  I don't agree w/ all her impressions but I think it's
an "accurate" review in terms of our both having seen the "same"
production (albeit several nights separated; I saw it 2 July).  I do
agree with her comment on Brutus' reaction to Portia's death (hmmm...
perhaps I should see if she's a SHAKSPER lurker?  almost seemed to me
she was responding to some of our discussion here... )

Mari Bonomi

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