Justice Theater Project to Open Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR, 2/8

The 2012-2013 continuing Justice Theater Project season examining political responsibility, "We Are Called", continues Shakespeare's classic tale of political intrigue and betrayal, Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, directed by David Henderson and running February 8 - 24, 2013 at the Clare Hall Fellowship Center, St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh. For more information, visit www.thejusticetheaterproject.org.

The Justice Theater Project (JTP) continues a season-long discussion about political responsibility past and present.

JTP has a history built on democracy, equity and collaboration among creative artists, managers, and community organizations that share a commitment to similar goals and a desire to maximize scarce resources and transform communities. The 2012-2013 season works to serve as a Call to the responsibility of participation as it exists for each of us and the ways in which this responsibility is connected to our citizenry.

Considered by many to be one of the most straight-forward of Shakespeare's works "Julius Caesar" mirrors politics throughout the ages. Although a Shakespeare veteran in both directing and acting, this is director David Henderson's first time working on this piece. Henderson states "As a country, we don't have to look too far in the past to see the impact a leader's assassination can have on our nation. Political rhetoric is alive and well. Politicians on all sides of the fence (and those that have no fence as well) have perfected the art of using all available forms of persuasion to move the populace closer to their own point of view."

Henderson feels that since the story is so well known and the structure and language easier than more difficult works of Shakespeare, the audience can relax and focus with ease. This also allows the actors to focus on the story. Describing the plot, Henderson states "Julius Caesar (John Honeycutt) is a highly ambitious political leader in Rome and his aim is to become dictator. Meanwhile a conspiracy to assassinate him is afoot. This conspiracy is led by Cassius (Jeremy Fiebig) and the honorable Brutus (Brian Fisher). Early on, Caesar is warned that something is amiss and he should "beware the Ides of March." He ignores this warning and is stabbed 33 times. At his funeral, his close friend, Mark Antony, (Jade Arnold) delivers his famous funeral speech and the tide turns. Brutus and Cassius meet their inevitable defeat at the hands of Antony and Octavious (George Kaiser) and the country is thrust into civil war."

Set, lighting and costumes are current day. Scenic designer Deb Royals describes the "Julius Caesar" set as "a blend of levels with sculpted fabric and ramps. The color scheme is simple black, white and red. We will brush the sculpted fabric with media images in an effort to perpetuate the sense of the media' s constant presence in politics. Lighting will work to highlight the severity of a cold marbled floor, and the lighting bounce off this floor to give the allusion of uplighting. One moveable set piece will provide both a way to present Caesar's body after assassination as it lies in state and later as a map table. This movable piece will be lit underneath thus outlining Caesar's body and later illuminating the maps used during battle."

Costumer David Serxner describes the looks as "... a dark palate of contemporary costumes with a clean look, suits, tuxedos and suits. We will be using red as an accent color. The second act is a military look. The idea behind dressing the characters to look similar is that politicians and lobbyists look pretty much alike in the "uniforms" of their jobs, it is their personalities that set them apart."

Directed by David Henderson, Scenography by Deb Royals, Technical Direction by Tom Wolf, Stage Management by Christine Rapp, Costumes by David Serxner.

Featuring: Katie Anderson as Calphurnia, Jade Arnold as Mark Antony, Jeremy Fiebig as Metellus Cimber/Flavius:Byham/Stuart Cassius, Brian Fisher as Marcus Brutus, John Honeycutt as Julius Caesar/Dardanius, David Hudson as Lepidus / Trebonius / A Poet / Volumnius, Michelle Johnson as Portia, George Kaiser as Octavius Caesar / Popilius Lena / Third Plebeian, Tanner Lagasca as Artemidorus / Octavius's Servant / Lucilius, Allan Maule as Cinna / Murellus / Messala, Andy Hayworth as Decius Brutus / Pindarus / Cobbler / First Plebeian, Mark Olexik as Cicero / Publius / Titinius / Plebeian, Mark Phialas as Cinna the Poet / Carpenter / Caesar's Servant, Jack Prather as Caius Ligarius / Soothsayer / Claudio, Mike Raab as Casca / First Soldier / Messenger / Fourth Plebeian, Samantha Rahn as Young Cato / Lucius, and Stephen Wall as Varrus / Clitus / Second Soldier / Second Plebeian.

Events include two discussions, free babysitting, audio description and an opening night reception.

Special events:

Friday, February 8 - Opening Night - Join us for a complimentary after show reception sponsored by The Leesville Tap Room

Sunday, February 10- 2:00 pm $10.00 Matinee

Saturday, February 16 - 6:45 pm Nibbles and Pre show round table discussion "Politics, Conscience and the Media" featuring Gail Phares, Jules-Odendahl-James and George Corvin. This panel has been invited back due to patron requests from their "Frost/Nixon" panel discussion. (See panel biographies below).

Sunday, February 17 - 2:00 pm performance Free babysitting provided by SeedRaleigh. Advance email reservation required.

Saturday, February 23 - 6:45 Nibbles and Pre show discussion, "Politics: History, Civil Discourse, and Moving Forward" with Reverend Charles Brooks of Poplar Springs Christian Church, and Jim Ryan, Wake County teacher and Shakespeare in the classroom scholar.

Sunday, February 24 - 2:00 performance - Free admission for visually impaired patrons and a driver, audio description provided by Arts Access.

The Justice Theater Project (JTP) is an advocacy and activist theater company whose mission is to use the performing arts to bring to the fore of public attention the needs of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. Each year JTP presents a diverse combination of original works, main stage productions, and community outreach events focusing on issues of social justice.

"Julius Caesar" will be performed on February 8, 9 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8:00 p.m. and February 10, 17 and 24 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for Adults, $15 for students/ senior citizens/military, and $12 for groups of 10 or more. All seating is general admission. Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m. is $10.00 admission day. (919)264-7089. www.TheJusticeTheaterProject.org

Panel and Speaker Biographies for Julius Caesar

Charles Brooks is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1978, Pastor Brooks graduated from Broughton High School and began a successful study of history and government at Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh. In September of 1979 he answered the call and preached his initial sermon under then Pastor D.A. Peace, Sr. While in college, Charles was called to serve as Pastor of the Pleasant Union United Church of Christ in Raleigh. After serving the church for three years Charles graduated from Saint Augustine's College with a B.A. degree in History and Government in 1982. He entered The School of Theology at Virginia Union University where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 1987. Upon graduation he returned to North Carolina to serve as Pastor of the Children's Chapel United Church of Christ until July of 1990. In 1990 Charles accepted the challenge to lead a great congregation in Raleigh, the Poplar Springs United Church of Christ.

Dr. George Corvin Dr. Corvin graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham in 1992. After finishing a residency in General Psychiatry, Dr. Corvin completed a fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry with the United States Department of Justice. He is Board Certified as a General and Forensic Psychiatrist by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Corvin joined North Raleigh Psychiatry in 1997 where he is now managing partner. He served as the Director of the dual diagnosis treatment program and Medical Staff President at Holly Hill Hospital for 6 years before leaving hospital work to focus on other practice areas. In addition to his outpatient practice at North Raleigh Psychiatry, Dr. Corvin has an active forensic practice including involvement in numerous capital cases and other high profile litigation. More recently, Dr. Corvin has become actively involved in ongoing legislative efforts in the area of death penalty sentencing reform as well as other legislative & advocacy activities aimed at ensuring the availability of adequate treatment resources for those in our community in need of psychiatric care. He has previously served as a Director on the Wake County Human & Environmental Services Board and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, a recently formed Managed Care Organization tasked with providing publicly-funded mental health services for indigent psychiatric patients in Wake, Durham, Johnston, and Cumberland Counties.

Jules Odendahl-James is the Resident Dramaturg at Duke University. Her research and writing explores documentary performance and social activism, crime narratives and the "forensic imagination," and the notion of experimentation across arts and science disciplines. In October 2012, in collaboration with Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, she will curate a residency for artists PearlDamour + Shawn Hall and their ecological installation/performance How To Build a Forest (http://sites.duke.edu/howtobuildaforest). Her recent dramaturgy includes The Stranger Festival, Ragtime, The Musical, iWitness: Based on Mike Daisey's The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and the controversy it generated (Duke); 8 (Playmakers Repertory Company); Self-Defense, or the death of some salesmen (UNC, Greensboro).

Gail Phares is one of the founders of the national peace organization Witness for Peace. She lived and worked in both Nicaragua and Guatemala as a Maryknoll sister. She has led over 55 delegations to Latin America over the last 30 years. Gail holds a MA in Latin American studies from The American University in Wash. DC. She and her husband Bob Phares are founders of St Francis of Assisi parish.

Jim Ryan is an English teacher at Knightdale High. He is a National Board certified teacher. He has worked in the school and community to create a program that has recruited adult volunteers who have been trained to work on reading instruction with students. Ryan attended a DuFour presentation on professional learning communities. He is a former college basketball coach who found that he wanted to teach literature."I got into teaching because I wanted to show students how much we can learn from literature," said Ryan. "When a student tells me that while reading 10 pages of Fahrenheit 451, he understood Bradbury's warning about hunting for utopia and obsessing about material things, I often literally jump for joy."

Pictured: Michelle with Michelle Johnson as Portia, and Brian Fisher as Marcus Brutus. Photo Credit: Coty Cockrell.

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