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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Friday, September 11, 2009

Praising "Caesar"

Review from the Lincoln Journal Star, September 11, 2009

The corrosive moral destructive power of ambition, envy, and corruption, set in a political arena, is the thrust of the Flatwater Shakespeare production of William Shakespeare’s "Julius Caesar."

The 2 1/4-hour drama explores the motivations behind, and repercussions of, the assassination of the arrogant Caesar.

While the character of Caesar (Dick Nielsen) is the catalyst for the play’s action, the role itself is not the major element.

It is around the conspirators Brutus (Brad Boesen) and Cassius (Nathan Weiss), as well as the loyal-to-Caesar Mark Antony (Rob Burt), that the show revolves.

Director Bob Hall has schooled his cast with discipline so that the tempo of the drama is played out with patience and perspective, ultimately allowing for appropriate climactic peaks of intensity.

Brutus -- Caesar’s friend -- is convinced by an envious and covetous Cassius that Caesar’s ambition is boundless and that for the sanctity of Rome, Caesar must be killed.

Boesen’s portrayal of Brutus is one couched in intense character concentration, with the actor displaying a wealth of reflective analysis as Brutus is slowly convinced of the need to eliminate Caesar.

His facial nuances are marvelously exhibited as he is drawn into the conspiracy.

Cassius’ choler and anger toward Caesar is almost brutally conveyed by Weiss, yet the actor also has the proficiency to display the necessary compassion.

Burt’s performance peaks with his intense delivery of Antony’s "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech.

Hall and costumer Kat Cover use stark black-and-white contemporary garb.

Hall also pays homage to William Morgan’s classic late-1960s Lincoln production of "Julius Caesar" by outfitting Antony in military fatigues for his eulogy of Caesar.

"Julius Caesar" is a difficult production to execute properly, but the Flatwater effort is certainly one worthy of seeing.

What: "Julius Caesar," Flatwater Shakespeare Company

Where: Swan Theatre, Wyuka Cemetery, 3600 O St., in Lincoln

When: 7:30 tonight through Sunday, also September 17-20 and 24-27

Tickets: $18, $15 seniors, $10 students

Call: 473-2897

Photo: Rob Burt as Antony and Nathan Weiss as Cassius in Flatwater Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Photo by John Nollendorfs.


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