Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Fine Treat From The Dowling Studio

A staging of Shakespeare's political drama Julius Caesar...

The Dowling Studio at the Guthrie is a spare and simple space, an unadorned canvas upon which actors ply their craft.  Upon it The Acting Company, The Guthrie, and director Rob Melrose present a cleverly wrought and strongly acted production of Shakespeare's tragic Julius Caesar.  The set is spare but clever, dominated by a moveable wall of monitors upon which supporting details are projected.  As with many productions of Shakespeare over the last 4oo years, the scene is the present day - the appearance and demeanor of politicians, soldiers, grieving spouses, and protesters are ripped from headlines, cable news, and social media. 

As with all Shakespeare, the story is timeless.  Duty, honor, and the rule of law obliges a righteous man to do the wrong thing for the right reason.  Greed, venality, and lust for power allow hangers on to do right thing for the wrong reason.  And the mob - a fickle, murderous populace - and the ease with which they are placated, co-opted, and redirected, for good or ill, is a lesson every generation appears doomed to forget and relearn. 

All the acting is solid across the board, but William Sturdivant as Brutus, and Zachary Fine as Mark Antony, give the stand out performances this play demands.  It was a visceral pleasure to watch them work.

I commend this production of Julius Caesar to you.  Act quickly though, the play is half way through its run, which ends February 05, 2012.  As is our practice, we purchased rush seats for only $20 each a half hour before showtime.  As the Dowling offers a general admission, we had our choice of seats.  Cassie and I sat in the front row and experienced this powerful work of art at arm's length.  Try it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/CaesarTusculum.jpg