The actors of Julius Caesar discuss their intimate and personal connections to the play and to their characters.

Arya_100x100Arya Daire (Portia, Decia, Soothsayer):

“The play is a timeless study on how people with a taste for power politically and psychologically manipulate. (Insert evil cackle here.) Character assassination and deflection are the current weapons of choice in American political campaigning (I sympathize; it is notoriously difficult to “mic drop” to a voting record or principled stance). These are expected and accepted manipulations of public opinion. And our characters in Caesar lay forth a gorgeous array of verbal manipulation tactics in their individual quests for status and power. Antony’s oration is a step-by-step masterclass in skillful crowd manipulation— the kind we see all the time in contemporary politics, hastened and amplified by social media. And in one famously delicious monologue, we are even invited to watch an “honorable” man (Brutus) manipulate himself, quelling the dissonance between his political aspirations and general moral posture. We see that even “men of conscience” can expediently unlock rather monstrous sides of themselves. Well, I should say “people of conscience”… I become rather monstrous when my name is misspelled on a Starbucks cup. The resultant hissing, spitting and latte throwing are—and always will be—my raison d’être.”

Kareem_100x100Kareem Bandealy (Brutus):

“My first experience with Shakespeare was thanks to an itinerate company that would go out to local schools, slap together a few platforms, throw up a couple nondescript flats and perform (usually in a gym). When they visited my middle school, it was to tell us A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I remember classmates heckling and being generally disruptive, and though it was all quite hilarious for 30 seconds, I found myself deeply perturbed for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to hear and make sense of what I was being told. Now, I’m an actor. I should have recognized the signs. So long as there are political systems, Julius Caesar will be relevant. Failing those, so long as individuals seek to ride the volatile bull of popular opinion, this play will be relevant. And failing all that, so long as there are friendships and betrayal, or there is risk, or loss, or so long as there remains a shred of arrogance in humankind, Julius Caesar will remain relevant. Don’t believe me? Go stream CNN or look on your Twitter feed after the show, and you’ll be met by characters from Caesar… without a tenth the poetic effulgence, of course.”


Christine_100x100Christine Bunuan (Calphurnia, Metella Cimber):

“The first Shakespeare play I ever did was A Midsummer Night’s Dream in college. Being the petite self that I am at 4’10”, I played Moth… one of Titania’s fairies. I remember being in the scene where Titania and all her fairies fall asleep next to her. And I literally did… fall asleep on stage. Titania called out “Moth” and two extra beats later I yelled out, “And I.” Needless to say, I learned never to do that again. I’ve always loved Shakespeare. I feel like his work challenges me as an actor and as a human being. His plays are so timeless and can be adapted to any time period. Julius Caesar is a perfect example of this, what with the upcoming election. I am not a very political person but this upcoming vote is certainly one of the most important of, at least, my lifetime.”

Sydney_100x100Sydney Germaine (Cinna, Octavius Caesar):

“The first experience I had with Julius Caesar was in high school, in my middle-of-nowhere-don’t-care-about-theatre hometown. We read and watched old videos of it, as well as Romeo and Juliet. To be honest, I liked Romeo and Juliet more because I thought there were too many men in Julius Caesar. I got to college pretty much only knowing those two plays and feeling self-conscious because so many of the other kids had more Shakespeare ‘training’ than I had. Why do we keep doing Shakespeare? How do these old stories help us process what is currently occurring? I thought I had pieced things together, but I’m still trying to figure that out for myself.”

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