“CAESAR” @ Mizzou

COLUMBIA- The Shakespearian play, “Julius Caesar,” presented by The Acting Company comes with a bit of twist under the direction of Devin Brain. The Greek play surely takes you back in time with the language and grammar used through the performance, but then things changed up.

The play’s costume designers, Jennifer Moeller and Christopher Metzger, were the main cause of the twist. Though the dialogue of the play took us back in time, the costume design brought us back to a modern era. In the early acts of the play, the lines of clothes are curvy and garments are loose fitting which gives the old look. Nonetheless, there comes a time in the play when war is about to commence that the costumes take a twist into the modern world.

During war, the costumes become tighter fit and have the modern army uniforms of today’s soldiers. Instead of sporting sandals and cloaks and fabrics of that nature, they wore modern army boots, t-shirts, bulletproof vests and sunglasses. The plot twist in costumes was different and a bit shocking, but it really modernized the entire world of the play.

With so much Greek dialogue through the entire play it required some amazing acting. One actor in particular who had an extraordinary performance was character Caius Cassius (William Sturdivant). Though the play is named after Julius Caesar, the main character, the plot, climax , and the conclusion of the play had to do with Sturdivant. With more lines than all of the other actors not a single flaw in his performance. Whether friend or foe, Sturdivant makes the audience understand the thoughts of his character Cassius. He may not be the crowd favorite as far as characters are concerned, but he is surely one of the better performers on the stage.

Presented in a half thrust stage and half proscenium stage setting the act surely engages it’s audience more than the normal act. As one of the audience participant who were seating on stage in the thrust stage setting, I had a different experience than those off stage in the proscenium stage. Those in the proscenium setting did not experience fourth wall communication like those in the thrust stage. The acts uses the people on stage as props and even interacts with them and makes them feel like they are witnessing the play from an actor’s perspective rather than an audience participant.

The tragic play was presented in a small area with a symmetrical setup. Scenes are changed by simply changing one or two items. Not sure if they were short staff, but actors would change their garments to become different characters, but nonetheless it was still great acting performed. I would definitely advise going to see this play if Greek plays with a bit of drama and action is your type of thing.

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