Entertainment » Theatre

Julius Caesar

by Clinton Campbell
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Nov 22, 2017
(l to r) Marianna Bassham, Liz Adams,  Marya Lowry, Bobbie Steinbach in "Julius Caesar." Photo: Maggie Hall
(l to r) Marianna Bassham, Liz Adams, Marya Lowry, Bobbie Steinbach in "Julius Caesar." Photo: Maggie Hall  (Source:ASP)

Actors' Shakespeare Project has given us one more thing to be thankful for this week - their incredible all-female production of "Julius Caesar."

Not satisfied with just a female cast, director Bryn Boice has assembled an entire production team of women. And additionally, they have taken one major liberty with the text by changing gender-specific language to the feminine. This may bother Shakespeare purists because it obviously alters the meter of the language in places, but the result is a show that feels much larger than its parts as well as very "now."

"Caesar" is a play that pops up every time there is a seismic shift in the political landscape. With its themes of power, ambition, liberty, and freedom it's no wonder. And with the nation just finally beginning the long overdue discussion around gender politics and harassment, we are provided a whole new lens with which to consider the text.

Ms. Boice has created a sleek and stylish production that is well-paced and engaging. It is evident that every detail has been reviewed and considered. Nothing is extraneous. As a result, there is a sparseness that allows the audience to focus on the text and the performances.

Christina Todesco's limited set comes to life due to Jen Rock's fantastic and moody lighting and Amy Altadonna's subtle sound design. And completing the picture are costumer Rebecca Jewett pitch perfect clothing choices.

And the final piece is, of course, the outstanding ensemble. Each and every one obviously has a deep understanding of Shakespeare's text and makes the most of every moment. And while they all give great performances this show is grounded by two that are truly exceptional.

Marya Lowry as Brutus and Marianna Bassham as Antony are at the top of their games. Each commands the stage, and there is an almost palpable electricity as they battle for the heart of Rome. These are two performances that any fan of Shakespeare should not miss.

This is one of those productions that Boston audiences will likely talk about for years. It is thought-provoking and impeccably produced. Do not miss the chance to see it.

"Julius Caesar" continues through December 17 at Studio 210 at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA. For more information, visit the Actors' Shakespeare Project's website.

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