Quantcast
When attending a play set in Rome … • Brooklyn Paper

When attending a play set in Rome …

Et tu, audience?

A new rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is putting theater goers eye-to-eye with the famous political and military leader — and the conspirators who murdered him — in a production that gives the audience a chance to feel like the Roman masses.

By the end of the play, ticket holders will experience an emotional roller coaster, having cheered for a hero only to lose him and lose everything that made Rome a great republic.

“This [play] is looking at power and the mob and the mob itself becomes a major character,” said Terry Greisse, who will play the role of Julius himself.

“The audience will feel like the Romans, with actors scattered in there as well, and when Caesar is stabbed the audience will see it happen.”

Greisse said the effect would be brutal and violent.

The stage will be divided into several parts, with the audience walking among wooden spikes that differentiate Brutus’s garden, Caesar’s house, the capital steps, and other settings.

Spectators will witness both Brutus’s and Antony’s funeral orations, which were both speeches appealing to the emotional masses — eventually leading to the republic’s downfall.

The play is a part of a larger project called the “1599 Project,” the theater ensemble’s focus on a pivotal year in Shakespeare’s career, when he wrote “Hamlet,” “As you Like It,” “Henry V,” and “Julius Caesar.” Each of these plays brought the bard’s work to a new level of political relevance, said Greisse, and the Irondale Ensemble hope to perform all four plays leading into 2013.

Julius Caesar at the Irondale Center [85 S. Oxford St. between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene, (718) 488–9233, www.irondale.org]. Nov. 27–Dec 15, 8 pm, $25; $10 Tuesdays, 7 pm.

More from Around New York