Irondale To Continue With Virtual 1599 Project With JULIUS CAESAR
Following the organizations decision last week to pause their 4 part series of 1599 in response to the widespread demonstrations, the ensemble will present their virtual performance of Julius Caesar at 7:00 p.m., streamed live to their YouTube channel. The project title, which refers to the seminal year that Shakespeare wrote four of his greatest works, was originally performed in 2016 in a four-hour theater marathon with seven actors portraying more than 70 roles.
Inspiration for this project comes from James Shapiro's book, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 1599. Shapiro's study was a provocative analysis of how the historical events, living conditions, and literary advances in England in that year sparked the incredible outpouring of creativity, which produced these four plays. Now divided into four separate theatrical experiences, each stream will not only include a contemporary and adapted representation of each work but will also include artist discussions to explore their personal connection to the work and how the current global situation has changed their own perception and interpretation of the texts.
"In these last two weeks our world has turned upside down once again, notes Jim Niesen, the ensemble's Artistic Director." Is it still vital to offer you the Julius Caesar portion of 1599? Reasonable and sincere minds may certainly disagree as we discovered at a heartfelt company meeting that took place earlier in the week. In the end as Artistic Director I made the decision to proceed," he continues. " I did so from the belief that because Julius Caesar is a great play its deep and nuanced meanings can change on a dime. It is a Rorschach of the day in which it is presented. What was a week ago seen as a study of the idealist losing his bearings and descending Into the chaos of power struggles and internecine rivalries is now the story of that same idealist being swept up in the currents of a raging flood. What are the lessons to be learned from the downfall of Brutus and the impact both intended and unintended of his action."
The work will be presented with a short contextual conversation with Niesen and longtime Irondale actor Michael David Gordon, who plays Brutus, preceding the play. The evening will close with an open discussion with the entire Irondale company to engage audience questions and comments.
The ensemble will perform As You Like It, Friday, June 19, and close with Hamlet Thursday, June 25. All performances will stream at 7:00 p.m.