Julius Caesar | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Director David Mink sets this solid Oak Park Festival Theatre staging of Shakespeare's play in the 1960s: Caesar is a charismatic, Kennedy-style leader complete with a Jackie-esque wife, and the citizens are hippies, soldiers, or suits. Mink doesn't go far with this interpretation--after the setup, this is simply a production in modern dress. But it's different enough to keep us thinking about the difficult political issues involved, reminding us that one person's assassin is another's freedom fighter. Paul Perroni is excellent as envious, persuasive traitor Cassius, and Chris Petschler nails the "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech, though otherwise his voice fades into the forest. Sit close--even with microphones, the dialogue sometimes gets lost in outdoor noises. Through 8/15: Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Fri through 7/14, 8 PM, Thu 7/6, 8 PM. See chicagoreader.com for complete schedule. Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, Forest and Lake, Oak Park, 708-445-4440, $17-$25, Sun 7/23 and 8/6 $5-$15 (includes "Family Day" activities beginning 4 PM).

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