Julius Caesar by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater Production Essay

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Julius Caesar, believed to have been written around 1599, is one of William Shakespeare’s most well-known historical works. The events of the play follow the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar by a group of Roman senators, and the subsequent upheaval of the state. The recent Orlando Shakespeare Theatre production of Julius Caesar utilized a cast of seven to portray a Dramatis Personae of more than thirty characters, similar to the style in which acting troupes would have performed Shakespeare’s works in taverns and smaller towns of the period. The reduced cast size and intimate setting of the Goldman Theatre, in which the play was staged, combined to more fully immerse the audience in the action of the play. Like many of …show more content…
While Shakespeare’s version of these events follows the historical facts, several liberties were taken with locations and timelines. Caesar’s assassination takes place in the Capitol, rather than the Theatre of Pompey, and his funeral and the reading of his will occur within hours of his death, rather than days later. He also combines the two Battles of Philippi into a single conflict, though more than two weeks passed between them (Shakespeare). Like many Victorian era playwrights, Shakespeare also took liberties with the technological advancements of the time, having Ancient Romans speak of hats and doublets, or telling one another to count the chiming of the clock. The inclusion of these anachronistic elements was hardly accidental, however. Theatre reflects the society in which it is crafted, and Julius Caesar, a play about the chaotic power vacuum left behind by the sudden death of a leader, was penned during the period just before the death of Elizabeth I, who had not yet named an heir. This style of social commentary is present in all of Shakespeare’s works, and the parallels between the British and Roman societies was alluded to in the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre’s set design, which featured Roman pillars and archways crumbling away to reveal Elizabethan architecture underneath. This production made use of minimalistic

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