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latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, Latin American Shakespeare, Latin American Shakespeares

 

Julius Caesar

Directed by: Michael Murray

Philadelphia Drama Guild

Philadelphia, PA

 

Julius Caesar (1988)

 

 

The Philadelphia Drama Guild was established in 1956. Cary Mazer described the Philadelphia Drama Guild as “the area’s most prominent professional theatre company” but its 1988 production of Julius Caesar was its first Shakespeare play in eight years.[1]

 

The setting was ambiguous. It was described as “an unspecified Latin American police state” [2] that evoked the Contras and Sandinistas, while another reviewer described Cassius as an “malcontented mestizo and Antony a macho ideologue,”[3] and a third found that “In the costuming and the background music, one can find evocations of Africa and Latin America.”[4]

 

A Black actor played Brutus and a white actor played Caesar, in what today would be called a multiracial cast. Cassius was played as Indigenous, and the Soothsayer was played as and by a woman.

 

CARLA DELLA GATTA

JUNE 2022

 

[1] Cary M. Mazer, “Julius Caesar by Michael Murray,” Shakespeare Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 5 / 6, Double Issue (September / October- November/December), 1988: 32-33. 32.

[2] Mazer, 33.

[3] Michael L. Greenwald, “Multicultural and Regendered Romans: Julius Caesar in North America, 1969-2000,” Julius Caesar: New Critical Essays, Ed. Horst Zander, New York: Routledge, 2005, 319-332. 321.

[4] William B. Collins, Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 March 1988.  

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