Glancing through the local paper yesterday I saw an article about an amateur theatre group's all-female cast production of Julius Caesar. Even better it was being performed just down the road in the recently completed, super snazzy Drama complex at the cubs' high school. So this afternoon I left my children to their own devices and went to get some culture.
Wow, I'm impressed. It was definitely an amateur production, with all the variables of talent that can encompass, but nevertheless it was a fabulous adaptation. Set in the 'modern era' it made good, stylish use of multi-media with mock-ups of CNN style reporting and news-breaks to link the scenes. Antony's 'friends, Romans...' speech was treated as a live broadcast fed through to the large screen at the back of the stage. (Interestingly I found myself naturally gravitating to that rather than the real live actress standing only a few metres away.) Likewise, we viewed Cassius' suicide (and monologue) as a video blog. Very effective.
Sets were well structured, simple and versatile, and the costumes were a sometimes ironic reflection of the characters.
The all-female cast made for a very different dynamic in parts, too. There were some uncomfortable stirrings from the audience during the poignant scene between Brutus and her 'partner' Portia. (I'd expected something similar with Caesar/Calpurnia but in this instance Calpurnia had become Caesar's daughter.)
I enjoy Shakespeare and I especially like non-traditional interpretations. (My love of AU's touches everything! : ) This version was beautifully done, I was engrossed and I'm very glad I made the effort to see it.