Garrard is one of a 10-man cast for Julius Caesar—extremely large by Second Floor standards, but unusually small to handle the play s 49 speaking parts. The size of the cast, though, is an intentional part of Bettis’ plan to reconstruct something like the Elizabethan staging of Shakespeare. The small Second Floor space has been redesigned as a three-sided area with a pillared pavilion in the centre, much the way it would have been in 1600. Costumes will be simple togas wrapped over modern street clothes; props will be kept to a few swords and the occasional laurel crown. And the all-male cast (the two female roles will be played by men) is only a bit smaller than the 12-man, 4-boy company Shakespeare probably wrote for. Until now, the Second Floor has been known for its somewhat bizarre, improvised stagings … But they’re billing Caesar as Shakespeare straight, sticking tightly to the text, and playing it with very much the same non-psychological attitude Bettis believes the Elizabethans would have. I always think Shakespeare is over-psychologized, over-dressed, says Bettis. We’re not talking about politics, or art. We’re playing it as a succession of scenes, telling a fascinating story. Actually, we’re going back to two different places: Elizabethan England, and from there to Caesar’s Rome. And our age probably knows no more or less about Rome than the Elizabethans did. There’s no reason we can’t both enjoy it in the same way. Besides Garrard, the cast will include Second Floor regulars Bruce Vavrina and Richard McKenna, as well as familiar city actors like Jack Messinger (Cassius) and Andrew Scorer (Marc Antony). Few of them are classically trained, but Bettis doesn’t see Shakespeares difficult language as any particular barrier.
KeywordsFemale Role Speaking Part Floor Standard Blind Ambition Shakespeare Play
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