California Shakespeare Theater

California Shakespeare Theater

Jonathan Moscone, California Shakespeare Theater‘s artistic director, is drawn to the political themes in “Julius Caesar” for very personal reasons. In the Spark episode “Page to Stage,” watch as Moscone breathes new life into an oft-performed Shakespeare classic, bringing his unique and personal perspective to bear on this timeless political thriller.

In producing “Julius Caesar,” Moscone faces the directorial challenge of producing a historical play from 44 b.c. Rome that is relevant to 21st-century audiences. Although many viewers may not know the play’s entire story, many know Caesar was betrayed and murdered. The effectiveness of “Julius Caesar” and other classics depends largely upon whether the audience perceives the story as being relevant to their lives. This task largely falls upon the director, who must direct the action in a manner that supports and deepens the audience’s understanding of the text. Oftentimes, developing these understandings can be difficult, given that the language, social customs and historical contexts in such works no longer exist, as is the case with “Julius Caesar.”

But Moscone has an unusually unique and personal relationship with the story, as his father, San Francisco mayor George Moscone, was slain along with supervisor Harvey Milk by former city supervisor Dan White in 1978. In his adapation of “Julius Caesar,” Moscone stages a truthful depiction of just how violent and horrifying it is to take another person’s life — slowing down the action of the murder scene and allowing the blood to seep from Caesar’s body in a long and dramatic silence — an expression of the belief that a political assassination is never justifiable.

More about California Shakespeare Theater

Formerly located in Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park, California Shakespeare Theater (also known as Cal Shakes) is located in Bruns Memorial Amphitheater nestled in the Berkeley Hills. Founded in 1974 as an artist collective, the company is known for its innovative productions of classic theater. Although its mainstay is still Shakespeare, since 2000, Director Moscone has expanded the repertoire of Cal Shakes to include works by Anton Chekov, George Bernard Shaw, Tom Stoppard, and Jack London as part of its continuing commitment to rediscovering seminal theatrical works.

California Shakespeare Theater
Where: Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd. at Hwy. 24, Orinda
Phone: (510) 548-3422

California Shakespeare Theater 3 August,2015Spark


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Page to Stage

Discover the challenges and the magic behind translating the written word into a theatrical performance.

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