From the Playbill
“When I asked Barry Kraft, during our 2006 production of King Lear, if there were any other Shakespeare roles he was still dying to play, his immediate response was ‘Julius Caesar, the title role.’ In his half-century career acting Shakespeare he had played Brutus and Cassius but never the man himself….The depth of Shakespeare’s great tragedies in unfathomable. They are a feast for thought, and the questions they pose are profound and unanswerable.
Was Brutus ‘honorable?’ Is it ever possible to be honorable while considering assassination?
Was Caesar a tyrant? Did he deserve to die? Are citizens merely fickle pawns to be manipulated by the next demagogue? (Mark Antony, who claims to be a plain speaker, proves to be one of the most eloquent demagogues in history.)
How can we know what form of government would be best? Is the Roman stoicism evinced by some of its male leaders admirable, or would they be better off if they listened more to their wives? Can we learn from history, or are we more likely to ‘misconstrue everything’ as does Cassius when he mistakes victory for defeat and takes his own life. How could Brutus, ‘the noblest Roman of them all,’ get it so wrong?
Perhaps this play has been so popular over the past 400+ years partially because it does help us to learn from history, to remember how easily crowds can be swayed and good men can be convinced to participate in bad actions, how easily victory and defeat can be mistaken in the heat of the moment, and how easily all of us can get things wrong.
There are no easy answers, only an amazing ancient Roman journey told through the genius of Shakespeare’s language from Rome to Philippi, from a republic to an empire. The contemporary parallels are everywhere. We thank you for coming along on this historical journey which is today, as it has been for many centuries, continually relevant and illuminating.”
– Director’s Notes