Julius Caesar from Delaware: Shakespeare Explores Tyranny in a Modern Setting

Julius+Caesar+from+Delaware+Shakespeare+explores+tyranny
Julius Caesar from Delaware: Shakespeare Explores Tyranny in a Modern Setting In a haunting adaptation of William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy, “Julius Caesar,” the Delaware Shakespeare Festival delves into the complex depths of tyranny in a contemporary American context. This innovative production transports the story from ancient Rome to modern-day Delaware, creating a raw and poignant exploration of political ambition, betrayal, and the fragility of democracy. At the heart of this adaptation lies the enigmatic figure of Julius Caesar, a charismatic and ambitious politician who rises through the ranks of Delaware’s political landscape. As Caesar grows in power, his supporters hail him as a savior, promising to restore order to a fractured society. However, beneath Caesar’s charming facade lurks a deep-seated hunger for absolute control. The play unflinchingly depicts the corrosive effects of tyranny on both individuals and society. Caesar’s once-loyal supporters, blinded by his rhetoric, become complicit in the erosion of their own freedoms. Fear permeates the air as Caesar’s iron grip tightens, and dissenters are ruthlessly silenced. The production’s use of a modern setting amplifies the relevance of Shakespeare’s themes. Set in a bustling urban center, the play mirrors the current political climate, where the rise of populism and the erosion of democratic norms are alarmingly familiar. Director Mark Ramont Robles expertly weaves together classical language with contemporary elements, creating a dynamic and immersive theatrical experience. The costumes and set design blend ancient Roman aesthetics with modern touches, evoking the timeless nature of the story while grounding it in a palpable reality. The cast, led by a tour-de-force performance from Anthony Lewis as Caesar, delivers nuanced and emotionally charged portrayals. Lewis captures Caesar’s charisma and hubris, while also exploring his vulnerability and paranoia. The supporting cast, including Michael Tezla as Brutus and Jake Williamson as Cassius, brings depth and complexity to their roles as torn loyalists and ardent conspirators. “Julius Caesar from Delaware” is a powerful and thought-provoking adaptation that challenges audiences to grapple with the perils of tyranny and the vital importance of preserving democratic values. Through Shakespeare’s timeless words and a contemporary lens, the production offers a chilling reminder of the fragility of power and the enduring struggle for freedom and justice.

Mariah+Gant
++|++Guest+columnist

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Dine+at+Bas+Rouge+in+Easton,+Maryland

Foodies,+take+a+road+trip+to+this+dining+destination+on+Maryland’s+Eastern+Shore.

I+first+encountered+Shakespeare’s+“Julius+Caesar,”+as+many+of+us+do,+in+my+high+school+English+class.++I+was+known+as+a+“theater+nerd,”+and+many+of+my+classmates+playfully+poked+fun+at+me+for+my+frequent+(and+unprovoked)+statements+about+loving+the+Bard.++But+as+we+trudged+through+reading+this+particular+piece,+I+became+more+and+more+in+tune+with+my+16-year-old+classmates:+“This+piece+is+boring!”++I+thought.

Fast+forward+to+today.++I+am+in+my+first+six+months+as+the+new+Artistic+Director+of+Delaware+Shakespeare,+and+we+have+chosen+to+program+“Julius+Caesar”+for+our+annual+summer+festival+production+in+Rockwood+Park.++So+what+has+changed+over+the+years+that+now+makes+me+appreciate+this+piece+of+work,+not+only+producing+it,+but+also+performing+on+the+show?

I+was+first+introduced+to+Delaware+Shakespeare+in+2019+when+I+auditioned+for+their+season.

Although+I+hadn’t+booked+any+of+the+major+productions,+David+Stradley,+the+producing+artistic+director+at+the+time,+sent+me+an+email+saying+he+wanted+to+“keep+me+in+the+fold”+and+invited+me+to+that+summer+to+see+“The+Merry+Wives+of+Windsor”.++.

The+gig+I+attended+was+a+hot+evening,+and+many+of+us+in+the+audience+had+tried+to+attend+the+previous+night’s+gig,+which+had+been+rained+out.++Still,+the+audience+was+full+of+smiling+faces,+people+enjoying+their+picnic+snacks+and+chatting+in+anticipation+of+the+performance.++It+was+electric.Julius Caesar, one of William Shakespeare’s most iconic plays, is coming to the Delaware Shakespeare Festival this summer. The production will explore the themes of tyranny, ambition, and the fragility of democracy. Set in ancient Rome, the play follows the rise and fall of Julius Caesar, a charismatic leader who becomes increasingly ambitious and tyrannical. His assassination by a group of conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, plunges Rome into civil war. The Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s production will be directed by David Stradley, who has a long history of directing Shakespeare’s plays. He says that he was drawn to the play’s exploration of the dangers of tyranny. “This play is a warning about what can happen when a leader becomes too ambitious and starts to abuse their power,” Stradley said. “It’s a story that is as relevant today as it was when Shakespeare wrote it.” The cast of the production includes some of the region’s finest actors, including John Douglas Thompson as Julius Caesar, Greg Wood as Brutus, and Peter Macon as Cassius. Thompson said that he is excited to play the role of Caesar. “He’s such a complex character,” Thompson said. “He’s a brilliant leader, but he’s also flawed. He’s ambitious and he’s willing to use his power to achieve his goals.” Wood said that he is looking forward to playing the role of Brutus. “He’s a man who is torn between his love of country and his loyalty to Caesar,” Wood said. “He’s a tragic figure, but he’s also a hero.” Macon said that he is excited to play the role of Cassius. “He’s a brilliant strategist and a master manipulator,” Macon said. “He’s also a dangerous man, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.” The Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s production of Julius Caesar will run from June 28 to July 22 at the Rockwood Park Amphitheater in Newark, Delaware. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 302-831-2204.

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