When I was an undergraduate in the early sixties, I was involved with a production of Julius Caesar which deliberately sought to rescue the play from the familiar dramatic-society blandness of Roman togas, declamation and statuesque postures. The play, for us, was about ‘the politics of men’ and hence was only superficially Roman. Accordingly, we transferred the locale to an unspecified Latin American country, and turned the assassination of Caesar into an attempted leftist coup against a strutting, militarist dictator. (At the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 1969, there was a production with a similar theme, though with an Aztec—Mayan overlay.) In our production, all references to Rome were expunged, ‘Caesar’ became ‘César’, the Capitol a colourful marketplace. We were clearly influenced by Castro’s still quite recent overthrow of Baptista in Cuba in 1959; we even dressed the conspirators in army fatigues, while Caesar appeared in a crisp white uniform. Luckily, we weren’t consistent enough to be bothered by the contradiction that Brutus and Cassius were wandering freely around the plaza in fatigues and rubbing shoulders with Caesar, their outfits proclaiming their intentions and political sympathies.
KeywordsFatigue Mercury Ghost Metaphor Plague
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