(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company presents a one-time-only performance of Julius Caesar directed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, who was recently honored by a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Shakespeare Theatre Association. The special staged reading features the Obie Award-winning John Douglas Thompson as Brutus and Finn Wittrock as Mark Antony, along with a cast of returning Company favorites. The reading will be held in the Tina Packer Playhouse at 1:30pm on September 1st.
“We chose to present Julius Caesar in conjunction with Coriolanus just days earlier because we still continue to learn a great deal from the Romans in examining power, leadership, and influence through the prism of Shakespeare’s poetry,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “While Julius Caesar is on most school syllabi and Coriolanus is rarely performed, they both emphasize how in the end, politics are personal.”
The special staged reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a monumental political thriller exploring the conflicting demands of honor, patriotism, and friendship in the face of political turmoil and blind ambition. Inspired by the true events on the conspiracy against Caesar, the play depicts the inevitable spiraling out of control when opposing sides collide, and meet with violence and lies.
“I’m thrilled to dive back into Julius Caesar— especially during the polarizing political climate we are living in,” said Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. “This stripped down concert reading format allows the emphasis to rest solely on Shakespeare’s text, and heightens the relationship between the actors and the audience. The action depicts the clash of ideas, leading to chaos in Rome, and all the consequences that befall a nation when it’s citizens and leadership cannot agree on a course of action. The chaos of Rome, and the rise and fall of the great nation.”
In the staged reading, actors will perform from the play with script in hand, and afterwards will engage the audience in discussions exploring the themes and relationships of the play. Julius Caesar will feature Dara Brown as Cinna The Poet, Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Allyn Burrows as Cassius, MaConnia Chesser as Casca, Nigel Gore as Caesar, Cloteal L. Horne as Portia, Jordan Mann as Octavius Caesar, Kristin Wold as Calpurnia, John Douglas Thompson as Brutus, and Finn Wittrock as Mark Antony.
Tickets are $25-$55 and can be purchased online at shakespeare.org, or by calling Shakespeare & Company’s box office at (413) 637-3353. Berkshire Residents enjoy a 40% discount. The Tina Packer Playhouse is indoors, air-conditioned, and wheelchair accessible. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble St. in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Join Shakespeare & Company founder Tina Packer, Artistic Director Allyn Burrows, and Obie Award winner John Douglas Thompson for an intimate dinner following the afternoon reading of Julius Caesar. Dinner guests will join the artists for an evening of cocktails and conversation in the Jane Iredale Lobby at our Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre with an elegant dinner catered by Brian Albert of Main Street Hospitality. Tickets, which include premium seating for the performance, are $250. All proceeds from this special event will support Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned education programs that reach more than 45,000 young people each year with accessible productions and hands-on workshops.
About William Shakespeare
Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His works, including some collaborations, consist of about 37 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
About Tina Packer
Founding Member (Director The Waverly Gallery, Volumina, Coriolanus) She has directed most of Shakespeare’s plays (some of them several times), acted in seven of them (never when directing) and taught the whole canon one way or another at over thirty colleges in the U.S., including Harvard, M.I.T. and NYU. At Columbia, she taught in the M.B.A. program for four years, resulting in the publication of her piece, Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership and Management with Deming Professor John Whitney. For Scholastic, she wrote Tales from Shakespeare, a children’s book and recipient of the Parent’s Gold Medal Award. Most recently Tina’s book Women of Will was published by Knopf and she whas been performing Women of Will with Nigel Gore, in New York, Mexico, England, The Hague, China, and across the US. Acting credits include: Shirley valentine, Molly Ivins, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Mother of the Maid; and Volumina in Coriolanus. She’s the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the Commonwealth Award.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.