The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Division of Communication and the Arts will present a shortened, modernized and provocatively recast version of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Julius Caesar.”
The show will take place at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 17 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Studio Theater in Blaisdell Hall. Tickets are $6 for the public and $2 for all students with valid identification. The performance lasts about 75 minutes. Seating is limited.
Dr. Kevin Ewert, professor of theater, directs a cast of eight women and one man. The casting was not originally intended, Ewert said, but simply a response to the fact that it was overwhelmingly women who came out for auditions. The lone male in the cast plays the part of Caesar who, spoiler alert unnecessary, is disposed of halfway through.
“We’re not really trying to do anything specific with the casting, but I think it creates a lot of interesting optics and tensions for an audience today,” Ewert said. “Half of ‘Julius Caesar’ is the anticipation of the assassination, and the other half is everything falling apart after the assassination. In this production, it’s women who are the power players, and the plotters, and the ones who rush in to fill the power vacuum.”
“It’s also a pretty awesome opportunity,” Ewert added. “Women almost never get the good fight scenes in classical theatre, but they do this time. It’s their adventure.”
Taken from Roman history, “Julius Caesar” tells the story of Brutus, a Roman senator recruited by fellow politicians to lead the assassination of the increasingly dictatorial Caesar in A.D. 44.
Members of the audience may see all kinds of parallels with modern power struggles. “Shakespeare’s good at asking questions,” Ewert said. “And then our job is to find some theatrical ways to amplify those questions. ‘Julius Caesar’ seems to invite questions about what we need to knock down and then what should go in its place.”
Students in the production are Tamia Robinson, a criminal justice major from Philadelphia; Julian Rowe, an interdisciplinary arts major from Harleysville; Kati Ido, a computer information systems and technology major from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Julie Kephart, a biology major from Philipsburg; MacKenzie Rugar, a criminal justice major from Pittsfield; Naama Paulemont, a chemistry major from Reading; Anna Bajkowsky, an interdisciplinary arts major from Bradford; Dominique Green, a criminal justice major from Pittsburgh; and Jayden Pire, a writing major from Oswayo.