From the 70’s style to the stellar acting, WLHS production of Julius Caesar, was a success. This year’s production of Caesar was staged with a twist. The original play was set in Rome and the first production was staged in 1599. Director Steven Beckingham wanted to add a new look to the play by placing girls in the roles that were originally played by a male. For instance Mark Antony, Caesar’s best friend, was played by Ellie Jones, senior, and his name was changed to Marcia Antony.
Beckingham also decided to hold the play in the Black Box which is much smaller theater that holds around 50 people. The Black Box made the audience feel like they were a part of the play.
In the opening scene, the play could at first seem cheesy with the slow motion fighting and the dim lights, but when comes up to life speed, the play builds. I read the book “Julius Caesar”, so the play was easy for me to follow and understand. Originally written in Old English, “Julius Caesar” can be difficult to follow for those who haven’t read the book, they could easily get lost in the fast tempo of the play and the unfamiliar language used. The actors performing this interpretation of the play used their body language and facial expressions to help viewers understand the storyline and what was going on. Evan Shely, junior, used his voice amazingly well to show emotion and made constant eye contact that kept the audience engaged.
My favorite part of the play was the mock fighting. Often it seems fake and is comical because of that. But the actors were well directed. The fighting seemed real and some of the stunts pulled actually seemed painful. The fights drew people in and added suspense just like it was supposed to do.
Another part of the play that was really impressive was quality of the props and the scenery. The background and the props were all made by WLHS art students under the direction of Jon Ares. Graffiti on the walls and the floor, trash cans placed strategically, made you feel that you were back in the 70s. The costumes were fantastic and accentuated the feeling.
I would give the play an A because the switched gender roles, the snazzy 70s costumes, the scenery and props, all of which put an exciting spin on the production that made the play enjoyable to watch.