by William Shakespeare
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
This 75-minute production toured upstate New York to middle schools, high schools and then parks and outdoor spaces from March to August 2019
Adapted and directed by: Illana Stein
Scenic Design: Diggle
Costume Design: Anthony Paul-Cavaretta
Composer and Original Sound Design: Titus Tompkins
Fight/Movement Choreographer: Alexis Black
Scenic Painter: Buffy Cardoza
Production Stage Manager: Christopher Denver
Photographer: Gabe Palacio, Tim Lamorte
“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.
–Julius Caesar, Act III, sc ii
Whose side are you on? Loyalties and friendships are tested in this immersive power play of politics. This play takes off like a runaway freight train. After Caesar’s bloody murder, the mob has taken over and who is there to stop them from burning Rome to the ground.
In this dystopian setting, Rome feels like it is on the fragile brink of collapse. It is a world of secrecy and fear. The walls have ears. This is further emphasized in the layered costumes where weapons can easily be hidden. Dark hoods cover true identities. Rebellion happens in the shadows of the dead of night. Secret greetings and coded language distinguishes teams of loyalists. Tensions are high. Who can really be trusted? Colors separate the two camps, those chanting for “Caesar!” and those who murmur under their breath, “Down with Caesar!” The line is drawn in the sand.
By breaking down the fourth wall, this production challenges the audience to be complicit in the storytelling. Driving-percussive live-foley along with stylized choreography gives a powerful presence to the mob and protestors. Bold flashes of red from both set and costumes viscerally bring to surface the play’s themes: murder, revenge, war, violence, and destruction. We will see blood on the conspirators’ hands, branding themselves murderers as they pour onto the streets proclaiming, “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!”