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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Julius Caesar at Staller

    There is always something to be gained from watching a Shakespeare play. Whether it be the beautiful language, the dynamic, interesting characters, or the plot, audiences alike have been flooding theaters and auditoriums for literally centuries just to hear those familiar thous and thines.

    Sunday, Nov. 18 at the Staller Center for the Arts was no exception. The Aquila Theater Company’s production of ‘The Life and Death of Julius Caesar’ was a performance worth seeing. Although it was not performed in its traditional ancient Roman setting, the play was strongly produced and well acted.

    The aesthetics in this production were not necessarily strong, but that seemed to be proving a larger point. Julius Caesar is a strong politic drama that transcends setting. The almost bare stage and plain costumes seemed to convey that this play could be happening at any time and in any place.

    This play raises many provocative issues throughout. It was certainly interesting and illuminating to be seeing it during a time where political image is heightened and public figures are highly scrutinized. Since Shakespeare always includes soliloquies and introspective scenes in his works, the audience gets a multi-faceted view of the characters.

    These contrasting scenes are especially valuable in this play because each political figure has a separate public and private image. What is exciting here is to learn what motivates each figure’s public image; does anything from his inner life and conscious spill in to his public self?

    Julius Caesar effectively communicates how pride can hurt you just as easily as it can help. The popularity that helped Caesar rise to the top is also what causes his downfall. Even though his wife Calpurnia accurately predicts his death, Caesar blindly marches on because his comrades pressure him to do so.

    The actors in this production did a great job portraying the seriousness and complexity of the conflicted characters. Brutus, played by Richard Sheridan Willis, is particularly conflicted as he has the choice of remaining loyal to Caesar or usurping power. He is convinced and partly molded by the persuasive, equally strong Cassius, played by Charles Goforth.

    Julius Caesar is a timeless political drama that proves how universal public image and power can become in a society. The Aquila Theatre Company gave a potent performance complete with great acting, intelligent lighting design, exciting stage combat, and of course all those thous and thines.

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