Stage Door News
London: Western University’s “Pandemic Julius Caesar” will be released August 20
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Western University’s Department of English and Writing Studies presentsPANDEMIC JULIUS CAESAR
Adapted from the William Shakespeare play by Jeff Culbert
To be released Thursday August 20th 2020 at 8 pm.
Here is a link to our trailer: www.youtube.com
The show will be posted on Western University’s Arts and Humanities Youtube channel: www.youtube.com
The Project: Western University’s Summer Shakespeare is celebrating its 40th year in 2020, making it Canada’s longest-running outdoor Shakespeare project. This year, JEFF CULBERT was hired to direct Julius Caesar – and then the pandemic hit. The decision was made to take the project online and make a video version, and that called for a new adaptation of the script.
The Concept: The story is told in the form of a documentary being made from within the ranks of the conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar. Pindarus (a minor character in Shakespeare’s play) is a slave of Cassius, and he is assembling the documentary as events unfold, using interviews, zoom conversations and some surreptitiously recorded material. He guides us through the story as our narrator.
There is a growing pandemic in the world of Julius Caesar that we have created, so communications are happening remotely.
And because Julius Caesar is the story of a republic under threat, with one man attempting to assume absolute power, we do make note of the similarities to current political trends in the USA.
The Text: Most of the text is straight out of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. But this adaptation allows for some scenes to be recounted by a single character. For example, Shakespeare’s opening scene is represented by one of the ‘commoners’, the cobbler, giving an account of his interactions with the tribunes, who scolded them for going to celebrate a victory by Caesar. So the Shakespeare dialogue is used, but put into the form of a story.
The Process: Auditions and rehearsals were done online, as were most of the recordings. Actors took on most of their own costuming, set design and recording.
The Cast: Summer Shakespeare at Western traditionally brings together Western and Fanshawe College students and members of the London community in general. This year, of the 14 actors in the cast, seven are Western students, four are Western graduates, two are Fanshawe theatre program grads and one is a freelancer from the community. Three of the actors were not even in London during the process. (They were in Toronto, Richmond Hill and Utah.) The cast and crew are a mix of amateurs and professionals.
CAST AND CREW
DIRECTOR: Jeff Culbert
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: Gregory De Souza
ACTORS (in order of appearance)
PINDARUS - Ryan Memarzadeh
CASSIUS – Kendall Zurowski
COBBLER – Rachel Jones
SOOTHSAYER – Peter Evans
CASCA – Katie Paxman
BRUTUS – Demis Odanga
CAESAR – Brittney-Lee Lowey
DECIUS – Aleesa Prendergast
PORTIA - Kydra Ryan
LIGARIUS – Jim Schaefer
LUCIUS - Jhanvi Thakur
CALPURNIA - Rachel Reaume
ANTONY – Lara Parlatan
CITIZEN – Evie Marcotullio
For more on writer/director Jeff Culbert, see www.jeffculbert.ca.