When I learned about the play, Julius Caesar set in Africa, I expected another Black Orpheus experience where I have seen mainly one actor carry the play. I was excited about seeing more Shakespeare since enjoyed the privilege of going to see Shakespeare in the Park for over 20 years as a Parks employee and assisted with plays as a "theater mom" in Brooklyn. To my joy, this play was Shakespeare that took me to West Africa and worked. From the moment that it opened with African drummers and dancers appearing with standard body types and the authentic Nigerian accents revealing the familiar Shakespeare lines adapted to the new setting, I was convinced that this was play about political intrigue in an African country. I was most captivated by three very convincing the male roles and a female villain in this play: Caesar, Mark Anthony and Cassius and the murderous female senator . You are drawn in to truly hate the fiends and see how the "common folks" are so easily manipulated. I particularly liked the way that the outbreak of war was depicted after Caesar 's death, the War Dance.
You might need to read the glossary of the program first, if you are not familiar with terms linked to African Traditional Religions or African Geography. I might not take a preteen to this play, if they have seen a bare chested woman before at the beach in passing or the like. This only occurs in 2 scenes and all of the other costumes with the makeup were delightfully West African. You might be cautioned that if seated in the front row, you will be in the orchestra section with the drummers but all of the seats offer a fine view.
My recommendation is to try to catch the show before it closes on December 19, Thursday through Saturday at 7pm or 3pm on Sunday. If you go on Saturday night, you get a cup of the banana pudding associated with the Jazz Show that follows play, during the intermission. The tickets are $5 cheaper purchased online and $15 for students with identification. There is a bar here to get cocktails before the show starts and during the break.
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