BREAKNECK JULIUS CAESAR Comes to the First Tampa International Fringe Festival
It's "the greatest thing since sliced Caesar!" Tim Mooney cuts away two hours of asides, diversions and blind alleys, stripping away just the right number of extraneous "trees" to reveal the essential "forest" of Shakespeare's great historical tragedy, in the one-man one-hour romp, "Breakneck Julius Caesar" coming to the Tampa Fringe Festival, May 12-14.
Cutting the play down to a single taut hour of Shakespearean verse and witty narration, "Breakneck Julius Caesar" reveals an unexpected tone and even throws in a surprise ending! No matter how many times you've seen the play before, you probably won't see it coming!
"I didn't quite set out to turn Julius Caesar on its head," Mooney notes. "I've been performing 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' for about ten years, and it's always been an astonishing speech. I wanted to go back and figure out how Shakespeare gets us to that point, and how (and why) he keeps going. The more that I looked at it, the more I began to realize that the ending of the play, as we are used to seeing it, is simply wrong! I'm keeping Shakespeare's language entirely intact (except for the bridging narrative and the cuts), and this 'new interpretation' lives purely in the inflection of a specific speech at the end."
"I put up a lot of resistance to this 'new ending!' People are used to seeing Julius Caesar with a very particular interpretation! Any time the movies cast Hollywood heavyweights like James Mason and Jason Robards (as Brutus), there's a certain gravity and sobriety that surrounds that interpretation. But, over the course of reading and seeing this play some half-dozen times, I've always felt something missing, and this new leap into the unknown seemed to be the only way that this work hangs together as a piece."
Meanwhile, Tim's ongoing narration (a kind-of wise-guy commentary) keeps the audience on top of the evolving action... lending it a humorous perspective that is only possible when the audience knows enough to keep up with the speed... unintimidated by the story, and able to see it, temporarily, through Elizabethan eyes.
The audience itself participates as fellow conspirators and citizens who feel themselves torn between Antony, Caesar and Brutus, most notably with what may be the crown jewel of reverse psychology, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen." From there, the last two acts unwind from the world's most famous assassination to an ironic perspective that they just don't teach in high school. But which may now seem like the only possible resolution.
Breakneck Julius Caesar will have its "fringe premiere" at the first ever Tampa International Fringe Festival Friday, May 12 at 7:45, Saturday, May 13 at 12:30, and Sunday, May 14 at 4:10, at the HCC Studio Theatre (on the HCC Ybor Campus, 1st Floor, 1304 E 11th Ave, 33605). Tickets to Breakneck Julius Caesar are $12 (plus one-time $5 button purchase) and can be purchased on-line at tampafringe.org (via BrownPaperTickets), or at the door.