Julius Caesar | Greenhouse Theater Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Julius Caesar The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 10 2016

The Brown Paper Box Co.'s low-budget staging of Shakespeare's drama seeks "to ask questions about how we support female leaders in a male-dominated political system," according to director-adapter Lavina Jadhwani. But despite the casting of women as the assassinated Roman general Julius Caesar and her avenger, Mark Antony, opposite a male actor playing Caesar's assassin, Brutus—and implying a sexual element in Brutus's feelings for Caesar—the production offers little clear or coherent perspective on issues of gender and power. With ten young actors playing multiple roles, all clad in blue jeans, gray T-shirts, and purple and red mantles, the show blurs rather than highlights any traditional differences between the sexes, so Jadhwani's approach seems less gender conscious than simply gender-neutral. The verse is spoken briskly and conversationally, with little attention to its poetry; while the action comes across loud and clear (especially loud), there is no sense of the sweeping emotional arc essential to the experience of great tragedy. The fight choreography by Tyler Esselman and Vahishta Vafadari (who also plays Antony) does, however, demonstrate that women can be just as rough and rugged as men when it comes to brutal and noisy stage combat. —Albert Williams

Price: $25

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