The annual Renaissance Season has kicked off at the American Shakespeare Center and the first play up is William Shakespeare's tragic history Julius Caesar. I saw both a matinee and the official opening night performance of the events surrounding Caesar's assassination. The production is a grand kick-off to the ARS.
Benjamin Curns tackles the role of Caesar with his typical aplomb. Unfortunately, though it's the title role, Caesar doesn't stick around long; though Curns does get to lie prostrate on the stage for quite a while. Caesar's infamous death scene is terrific and bloody. Curns channels a bit of Ric Flair and The Godfather in his time on stage. Rene Thornton, Jr.'s Marcus Brutus is the true main character, and Thornton delivers his many lines with the great skill and passion he is known for. His main ally, Caius Cassius, is played by the returning Sarah Fallon. It feels like Fallon never left as she and Thornton display their wonderful acting chemistry. Fallon very nearly steals the show as the conniving Cassius.
Greg Phelps' turn as Antony is another standout, and he does a wonderful job with one of the most famous speeches in Shakespeare's canon. Alli Glenzer, Abbi Hawk, Daniel Kennedy, and John Harrell are great and amusing as the plebeians.
This production is not the typical performance you saw when you were in school. It's much faster paced and exciting, as are most ASC productions and is a great way to kick off the Actors' Renaissance Season.