Find Events Find Events
Choose date range
Free events
Select Series
Select a Genre(s)
Filters
Search by Keyword
Filters
Select Series
Select a Genre(s)
Free events

Author: A.H. Goldstein

DAILY CAMERA: Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s ‘Julius Caesar’ sticks to roots

Boulder troupe’s orthodox approach is bold, refreshing and insightful

Political intrigue is, by its very nature, transitory.

Plots and machinations morph with the current ruling party; as power shifts, so does the political consciousness. The deeds, victories and downfalls of even the most accomplished leaders have a very short shelf life in the popular imagination.

The rise and fall of Julius Caesar is a remarkable exception to the rule. The stunning ascendance and violent end of one of ancient Rome’s most revolutionary leaders has consistently captured the imagination of the Western world for more than 2,000 years. William Shakespeare found inspiration in Caesar’s downfall, and his take on a political assassination from the ancient world continues to spark controversy.

Indeed, Shakespeare drew timeless lessons from Caesar’s story, observations that have continued to apply to politics, no matter the time or place. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival‘s current production of “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” however, forgoes the temptation to draw parallels between Caesar’s story and the modern political landscape, even during a season when the Public Theater of New York has drawn international attention for its Trumpian spin on the play’s title character.

Instead, director Anthony Powell cleaves to the roots of Shakespeare’s work and its historical source material. Robert Sicular plays Julius Caesar as the historical Julius Caesar, a decidedly Roman ruler whose ambition and cunning paved the way for an unprecedented rise to power and a violent end. Caesar’s enemies, led by Marcus Brutus (Scott Coopwood) and Caius Cassius (Matthew Schneck), act for the welfare of the Roman Republic, and not on behalf of any modern government.

In other words, the CSF’s remount of one of the titles from its original season 60 years ago is a traditional take on the story, one that retains its original setting and motivations. In a CSF season that’s seen plenty of tweaks to casting and settings in some of Shakespeare’s best-known works, that orthodox approach is bold, refreshing and insightful. Powell and the cast stick to the script with an eye for detail and a consummate intensity. In doing so, they highlight the timeless lessons of Shakespeare’s words and Caesar’s downfall. This take on the tragedy is unabashedly Roman, but its ties to our modern world are never lost in the cultural and historical distance.

“Caesar” is one of literature’s most durable political thrillers, and that element is constant in the way Powell and the rest of the crew approach the story. Their focus on the intrigue is consistent, and they include very little in the way of frills. Scenic Designer Caitlin Ayer’s set scheme, for example, is minimal – unadorned vertical backdrops are the only hints of the grandeur of the ancient Roman forum.

(Read the Full Article)

Upcoming CSF Events View all events

Love's Labour's Lost

Loading
Jun 8-Aug 12, 2018

Love's Labour's Lost

By William Shakespeare
Starting at $20

Start your summer with a frothy, funny celebration of love and learning. In the bucolic Kingdom of Navarre, four attractive young men make a pact to s...

Richard III

Loading
Jun 22-Aug 11, 2018

Richard III

By William Shakespeare
Starting at $20

The Bard’s most murderous, malicious and mesmerizing king comes to the CSF indoor stage for the first time. Richard, Edward IV’s deformed ...

Cyrano de Bergerac

Loading
Jul 6-Aug 11, 2018

Cyrano de Bergerac

By Edmond Rostand
Starting at $20

The inspiration behind the hit film “Roxanne,” Edmond Rostand’s timeless romantic comedy has it all: passion, panache and thrilling ...

You Can't Take It With You

Loading
Jul 20-Aug 12, 2018

You Can't Take It With You

By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
Starting at $20

Seize the rare opportunity to see a hit screwball comedy on the professional stage. When Alice brings her boyfriend’s traditional, straight-lace...

Edward III

Loading
Aug 5, 2018

Edward III

By William Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd
Starting at $20

CSF’s beloved ‘Original Practices’ tradition continues with the gripping history play that’s been mired in mystery for hundred...

Latest CSF News View all news items

Feb 19, 2018

Rodney Lizcano plays the villain

A CSF favorite takes on Richard III in the 2018 season. Ian…

Feb 16, 2018

A Q&A with Sam Gregory,…

Take a look at Sam Gregory’s history with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival…

Feb 13, 2018

Cyrano de Bergerac is the…

We live in a time of anger, bitter political division and pettiness.…