Tracy Bueno | The Bottom Line
William Shakespeare has come back with a vengeance, but not in your average enclosed auditorium.
On Sunday, March 9, students in Theater 140 presented Julius Caesar in Isla Vista’s Anisq’Oyo Park. Under the direction of Jason Narvy and sponsored by I.V. Live, Caesar was the first of many plays under the new series, “Shakespeare In The Park.”
As an English major currently enrolled in a Shakespeare class, it’s been a long time since I’d seen Julius Caesar in high school, and I’ve never seen a Shakespearean play executed within one hour.
Improvability opened the show with a spoof of The Taming of the Shrew re-titled The Taming of the Jew, per request of the audience. The green grass glimmered in Sunday’s extra hour of light as dozens filled the small amphitheater, IV locals and Shakespeare fans alike.
In case you didn’t know, Julius Caesar is about the infamous conspiracy to kill the Roman emperor and the aftermath of his murder, based on true events. Although Caesar dies early on, the real star of the show is the character of Marcus Brutus, eloquently played on Sunday by Andres Enriquez.
The play began just after 7 PM and it was interesting to see the cast of 16 appear in modern costumes. The constant banter between Cassius (played by Lauren Kivowitz) and Brutus was spot on and also gave the play a modern edge. Kivowitz was so convincing that even I was scared she would kill me. Even better was Enriquez’s portrayal of Brutus as an honest man who turns to the dark side and expresses guilt after assassinating Caesar. Aside from being awesomely dressed for the part, he captured the essence of Brutus’s personality as he shifted from Caesar’s loyal friend to his enemy. He had rawness, arrogance and yet a sensitive side.
What was surprising was the play’s fast pace and audience incorporation. There were instances where the actors took battle scenes to the audience, making the experience more intimate.
Seeing a Shakespearean production in an outdoor setting was an exhilarating experience I hope to see again. Instead of surrounding walls, you get the night sky, bright starts and the chance to admire nature. Overall the play was entertaining, and the free cup of free Starbucks coffee and break from writing papers was also a plus.