Julius Caesar – 1997

Director Eric Usher

‘Oh Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet’

The story of Julius Caesar would have been well-known to Shakespeare and, in many ways, it would have been a natural subject to appeal to him after the completion of most of his major English history plays. It has been consistently popular throughout the centuries combining, as it does, dramatic action with keen perception of character.

Some have suggested that the play really ought to have been called ‘The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus’ and it is true that Brutus has many of the characteristics of the tragic hero. His ‘nobility’ is everywhere in evidence but, as John Palmer points out, he also has ‘precisely the qualities which in every age have rendered the conscientious liberal ineffectual in public life’. He is a man of courage, dignity and humanity but he makes every mistake that it is possible to make. His fatal misjudgements of character are followed by errors in action and his final tragedy comprises not only the death of himself and his wife, but also the destruction of the republican principles for which he has fought.

By contrast Cassius is presented as acute, intelligent and effective. A realist whose more admirable qualities are developed towards the end of the play while Antony changes from the sensual libertine to the ‘shrewd contriver’ and unscrupulous opportunist.

Throughout all the action the presence or spirit of Caesar makes itself felt. It is this very spirit that the conspirators hope to destroy but, in fact, it is stronger after the murder than before it. Shakespeare’s audience would have been fully aware of the legendary greatness of Caesar. They would also have been keenly alive to the potential horrors of a disorganised change of power, as the ageing Queen Elizabeth was already nearing death without having established any heir to succeed her to the throne. In many ways Caesar is portrayed as a political idea rather than a man. The assassination, which attempts to destroy his spirit in fact elevates it and makes it much more powerful. Caesar, therefore, becomes the greatest force in the play which quite rightly bears his name.

 

Cast

JULIUS CAESAR Hugh Prior

CALPURNIA, HIS WIFE Shannon Milsom

MARCUS BRUTUS Michael Williamson

PORTIA, HIS WIFE Maggie Redgrave

The ruling Triumvirate after Caesar’s death

MARK ANTONY Andrew Kendon

OCTAVIUS CAESAR Mike Thackray

LEPIDUS Jack Hyde

The conspirators against Caesar

CAIUS CASSIUS Daniel Tarrant

CASCA Michael Storey

CINNA Graham Linay

DECIUS BRUTUS Brian Williams

TREBONIUS Graeme Hammond

METELLUS CIMBER Peter Barton

CAIUS LIGARIUS Phil Cox

Tribunes of the people

FLAVIUS Mike Thackray

MURELLUS Nick Thompson

Senators 

CICERO Gerald McCunn

POPILLIUS LENA Aidan Hervey

THE SOOTHSAYER Jack Hyde

THE COBBLER Phil Cox

THE CARPENTER Gary Mackay

LUCIUS, SERVANT TO BRUTUS Tom Reynolds

PINDARUS, BONDMAN TO CASSIUS Peter Barton

SERVANT TO CAESER Mark Usher

SERVANT TO ANTONY Gary Mackay

SERVANT TO OCTAVIUS Nick Thompson

Officers and Soldiers in the armies of Brutus and Cassius 

TITINIUS Graeme Hammond

MESSALA Graham Linay

LUCILIUS Brian Williams

VOLUMNIUS Aidan Hervey

STRATO Gary Mackay

Plebeians, Officers, Soldiers, Attendants

James Brinkley, Lyn Martin, Gerald McCunn, Hugh O’Kane, Mark Usher, Lucy Vine, Katherine Williams, and members of the company

 

Production Team

Director Eric Usher

Stage Manager Bob Pugh

Stage Construction Kirton Construction

Set Design Bob Pugh, Maureen Yule, Jennie Lewis, John Morgan

Poster Design Roger Mould, based on an idea by Bob Pugh

Costumes Wendy Usher, Terry Dick, and team

Properties Shannon Milsom, Kathy Williams

Continuity Marrianne Tomkies

Photographs Simon Ellis ABIPP AMPA

Lighting Design Roger Blackmore

Sound Design Gerry Davison

Backstage and Technical Team Karen Buckley, Adam Bright, Daniel Chilcott, Tony Chilcott, Simon Craig, Claire Goovaerts, Norman Griffin, Graeme Hammond, Andy Kendon, John Morgan, Tanzy Lee, Malcolm Lyons, Bethan Pugh, Mel Pugsley, Maggie Redgrave, Derrick Scothem, Peter Sweeney, Dominic Whitehead, Andy Wilmott

Make-Up Jan Sheppeard, Kathy Williams, Vicki Williams

Publicity Martine Peulevé, Dee Wormald

Box Office Cheryl Cook, Michael Cook

Front of House & Sales Trish James and team

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