This weekend, Binghamton University’s theater department will present William Shakespeare’s classic “Julius Caesar.” The play is set to open at 8 p.m. on April 29 and 30 in the Anderson Center’s Watters Theater, with additional shows at 2 p.m. on May 1 and 8 and 8 p.m. on May 6 and 7.
“Julius Caesar” is one of the few plays that Shakespeare wrote based on true events that occurred in Roman history. This play shows the fall of Caesar and the triumvirate that is formed after Caesar’s assassination.
Visiting artist Michael Toomey, who currently teaches stage combat and scene study, is the director of the main stage’s last play of the semester.
Laura Potel, a freshman majoring in theater, plays Cinna, a character with a crucial role in the assassination of Caesar. This is her first time being part of a main-stage production, and she feels that working with Toomey helped her grow as an actress.
“Toomey was really fantastic to work with because he gave us a lot of freedom to explore every scene, trying out anything we wanted and seeing what came out of the creative process,” Potel said. “He was also really supportive.”
Amanda Thomas, a senior double-majoring in theater and dance, agreed.
“Working on a main-stage show is really a great privilege, and I feel very honored to get to work with a director who has such a passion for and knowledge of Shakespeare,” Thomas said.
Thomas plays Lucius, the servant of Brutus and Clitus, a Roman soldier.
“When playing Lucius, I am constantly reminded of how I experienced the terrorist attacks and aftermath of 9/11,” Thomas said. “At the time, I was around the same age as Lucius and going through a similar journey in terms of my level of comprehension of what was going on in the world. “
Aaron Rubinstein, a junior majoring in theater who is playing the character Lepidus, a member of the triumvirate, also believes the events in Caesar can be connected to the real world.
“This historical overthrow of what certain people believed to be a political dictator is as real as it was then. All over CNN we hear stories of Egypt and dictators recently starting to be questioned and their absolute authority challenged,” Rubinstein said.
There is a lot going on in “Julius Caesar” that provokes more thought than some of the other plays main stage has done. A lot of what is being said is meant to keep the audience engaged and attempt to demonstrate the similarities between current times and the past.
Jacob Wentlent, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, plays Marcus Antonius.
“Caesar is exploring so many things, all a part of the modern world. The show deals with the rise and fall of a dictator, much like what Egypt and various other countries are experiencing,” Wentlent said. “It really explores non-sexual male/male relationships, a topic that many shy away from dealing with. The biggest being love. In many different shapes and sizes, love is the catalyst for the entire show, and is something that everyone seems to want a piece of.”
Tickets are on sale at the box office in the Anderson Center and are $8 for students (with ID), $12 for faculty/staff/seniors and $14 for general admission.