“Julius Caesar,” William Shakespeare’s classic tale of power, conspiracy and revolt, is brought to life on the CCU stage with an all-female cast. Performances will run Thursday, March 29, through Saturday, April 7, in Edwards Theatre. Tickets are $17, and CCU discounts are available.
The Bard explores a minefield of political pitfalls in this drama set in 44 BC and based on historical events. Personal vendettas, suspicion, jealousy and a deep yearning for loyalty fuel the action of Roman senators and the ruler himself as each falls victim to the corrupting force of power.
In this production, however, director Gwendolyn Schwinke, CCU associate professor in the Department of Theatre, sets the play in a dystopian future where a group of streetwise girls, living on their own, discover Shakespeare’s text. In an aesthetic inspired by the Riot Grrl movement, the young women liberate the play and make it their own.
Schwinke decided on this fresh take for the production for practical as well as conceptual reasons.
“I was trying to think of shows for women, because we have more women in our department than men, but most theatrical literature has more roles for men than it does for women,” Schwinke said. “I kept that in mind with my background in studies within the work of Shakespeare. Women have more stories to tell other than just falling in love, so why not give them that opportunity through one of Shakespeare’s most politically charged plays?”
The cast’s main characters include Korilyn Hendricks as Brutus, Kennedi Skye as Julius Caesar, Amani Huell as Mark Antony and Autumn McNutt as Cassius. Other cast members include Leslie Alexander, Alexandria Barrow, Jala Bennett, Hayle Berry, Milla Blackwelder, Brooke Bloomquist, Hannah Coffman, Hannah Dahl, Erika Davis, Amelia Dobbs, Hannah Duncan, Emily Dye, Ariana Hooberman-Pineiro, Cassidy Hunt, Quinn Jones, MaryKate Korbisch, Sydney Lee, Carlie Maze, Maggie Renfroe, Lillian Shoji, Claire Skipper and Kat Stonebeck.
CCU students McKenzie Owens, Walter Tucker and Reed Collins worked on the lighting design, sound design and costume design for the production, respectively.
Schwinke follows a short tradition in her approach to the drama; the all-female “Julius Caesar” has been done before in recent years at theaters in New York and London, employing a variety of contextual situations. Schwinke believes the timing is right for a digressive approach to the legendary tale.
“I was considering what shows were topical to today’s environment, and the story of a dysfunctional government and what happens when there’s a dictator who is overthrown is really interesting. I think there are a number of parallels that can be highlighted, but what I appreciate about ‘Julius Caesar’ in particular is how it looks at what occurs when individuals think they solve the problem with violence, and what ensues from that action.”
The performance schedule is as follows:
- Thursday, March 29-Saturday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, April 4-Saturday, April 7, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, April 7, 3 p.m.
The Edwards Theatre is located in Room 117 of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at 133 Chanticleer Drive W. on the Conway campus. Parking is available in lots directly adjacent near the back of the building or in J lot near the Singleton building. Visit coastal.edu/aboutccu/campusmap.
General admission is $17. Senior citizens, OLLI members, CCU alumni, teens and CCU/HGTC faculty and staff are $10. Tickets for children and CCU/HGTC students are $5.
Upcoming CCU Department of Theatre productions include “35MM: A Musical Exhibition,” running April 19-21.
YouTube: “Julius Caesar”