Shakespeare & Originals will present a thought-provoking modern-dress version of Julius Caesar by Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) from Oct. 9 to Oct. 25 at Manbites Dog Theater as part of Manbites Dog's "Other Voices Series." According to preshow publicity, director Tom Marriott's interpretation of this classic tragedy is an "angry modern staging of Shakespeare's tragedy about spin, manipulation, and empire building."
First produced in 1599-1600, Julius Caesar begins in ancient Rome in 44 B.C. and is based on Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives (Bioi paralleloi). The title character — in full Gaius Julius Caesar (100?-44 B.C.) — appears in only three scenes of this powerful Shakespearean tragedy and dies before the play is half finished.
Julius Caesar was a world-famous Roman general and statesman who conquered Gaul (58-50 B.C.), vanquished his rivals in a bloody Civil War (49-46 B.C.), and served as the increasingly powerful dictator of the Roman republic (46-44 B.C.). When Caesar proposed an ambitious program of political and social reforms, a group of Roman aristocrats — fearing that Caesar would make himself king and including Caesar's close friend Marcus Junius Brutus (85-42 B.C.) — assassinated him in the Senate House on the Ides of March (March 15th) in 44 B.C.
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "The figure of Julius Caesar held particular fascination for the Elizabethans. He was a soldier, scholar, and politician (Francis Bacon held him in special regard for the universality of his genius); he had been killed by his greatest friend (Shakespeare alluded to the 'bastard hand' of Brutus in Henry VI, Part 2); and he was seen as the first Roman to perceive and, in part, to achieve the benefits of a monarchical state."
The Shakespeare & Originals cast for Julius Caesar includes Lissa Brennan, Cheryl Chamblee, Jeffrey Scott Detwiler, Kenny Gannon, Derrick Ivey, Byron Jennings, Jay O'Berski, Michael O'Foghludha, Nicole Quenelle, Lucius Robinson, Adam Sampieri, Mac Monroe, and Lance Waycaster.
Shakespeare & Originals presents Julius Caesar Thursday-Saturday, October 9-12, at 8:15 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 12, at 3:15 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 15-18 and 22-25, at 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 19, at 3:15 p.m. at Manbites Dog Theater, 703 Foster St., Durham, North Carolina. Pay what you like Wednesday ($5 minimum), $10 Thursday, and $15 Friday-Sunday. (NOTE: Group rates and school rates are available.) 919/682-3343. http://www.newfrequency.org/caesar.htm or http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/86/.