Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

‘Julius Caesar’ gets a revamp

By
May 16, 2011 |

While Julius Caesar's (Matt Kronzer) back is turned, Cassius (Shayna Carp) and Brutus (Matthew Canty), holding knives, think about killing him in a production currently being staged at UC Davis. Courtesy photo

Details

What: Studio 301 production of “Julius Caesar”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Outdoor courtyard between Sproul Hall and the School of Education on the UC Davis campus

Tickets: $10 general, at the door or in advance by calling (530) 752 1915

Info: email Studio301Productions@gmail.com

The UC Davis theater department didn’t stage any Shakespeare this year, so the enterprising members of Studio 301, a student-run group, took on the task themselves, presenting the tragedy “Julius Caesar” outdoors, with a cast that includes some seasoned student/community performers and a few newbies.

“Julius Caesar” is an interesting challenge, given that the script has only two speaking parts for women, while Studio 301’s cast of 20 is evenly divided in terms of gender.

So Studio 301 has opted for the same kind of modifications that California Shakespeare made when it staged “Julius Caesar” in 2003: Women step into roles customarily reserved for men. This includes a majority of the conspirators who cut down Caesar, among them Sarah Cohen, a veteran of multiple Shakespeare productions hereabouts, playing Casca. The setting of the play also shifts into a timeless zone that suggests ancient Rome, but doesn’t include a lot of togas.

And maybe a few modern political overtones as well. Cassius, a senator who clearly longs for greater power (described by Caesar as having “a lean and hungry look”) is played in this production by Shayna Carp, who projects an intensity and ambition —as well as a tendency to make the occasional miscalculation — that reminded this reviewer of Hillary Clinton when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Presenting Cassius as a powerful woman shifts the character’s relationship with Brutus, played here by Matthew Canty, whose slender, lanky frame and philosophical presentation of his lines during the play’s first half are reminiscent of Barack Obama on one of his more aloof “professorial” days.

Director Michael Lutheran mixes in several other flourishes. He presents the Soothsayer (“Beware the Ides of March!”) as a female trio (Yana Zhovinky, Gillian Heitman, Hanna Sharafian) hovering on the periphery, swaying events through potent hand gestures, or even slipping briefly into the action. This manipulative threesome recalls The Fates, and the witches in “Macbeth.”

Lutheran also inserts a vivid, wordless scene just after Caesar’s assassination in which Portia, Brutus’ wife, comes face to face with the distraught Calpurnia, Caesar’s widow. Lutheran also puts a different spin on the final meeting between (male) Brutus and (female) Cassius, as they prepare to go into battle, knowing they may die.

After Brutus discloses that his wife has taken her own life, their meeting concludes with a kiss that’s more than platonic.

Alex Newhouse plays Mark Anthony, and handles his big speech (“Friends, Romans, countrymen…”) with zest, and also gets the desired laugh with Antony’s famous line regarding an unintelligible speech by Cicero: “It was Greek to me!” Newhouse is also cool as he ticks off the names of senators to be eliminated as Antony and Octavius attempt to seize power.

Matt Kronzer brings a suitably regal presence to the title role, which only involves a few scenes. Alas, Kronzer twisted his ankle on opening night — always a hazard when staging battle scenes outdoors in the dark. Director Lutheran reportedly stepped in as understudy for subsequent performances last weekend.

The spacious courtyard area where the show is staged — between Sproul Hall and the School of Education — gives fight choreographer Gabriel Rose plenty of room to maneuver, and he makes the most of it. But the play’s one-on-one conversations suffer a bit in the vast space. Costumes (by Gillian Heitman and Karly Goodwin) and lighting (by Brendan Ward) are relatively modest in scope, but effective.

Attendees are strongly advised to bring a folding beach chair, or at least a pillow to sit on. The evening air gets downright chilly long before the play concludes, so it’s also a good idea fetch a hooded sweatshirt and a blanket as well, and maybe a Thermos of something warm to sip.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics