Southern California Shakespeare Festival has announced that it will present Julius Caesar Sept.13 – Oct. 5 at Cal Poly Pomona, directed by Josh Machamer. In this tenth anniversary production, the eponymous character will be played by the Festival’s artistic director, Linda Bisesti. Gender-bending in the casting is not new for the Festival; Lisa Wolpe portrayed Richard III in 2011. The Festival has consistently practiced non-traditional casting, and a number of the roles in the 2014 production have been cast without limitation by race nor gender.
Julius Caesar relates the fall of the Roman dictator of the title, murdered by conspirators before he can become absolute monarch of the Roman Empire by public acclamation. Only one of the assassins, Caesar’s beloved friend Brutus, acts in what he truly believes are the best interests of the Roman Republic.
Josh Machamer describes his approach in directing the play. “Set against a background of civil unrest and political uncertainty, Julius Caesar showcases the fall of a once mighty republic and the political leaders who clash publicly and privately over their ideals of power. This particular version of the play has been deconstructed with scenes taken out of sequence in order to show more closely how a society behaves when asked to define and defend the conflicting ideas of freedom and democracy.”
In addition to Bisesti, the cast will include Actors Equity members Michael Kachingwe, Marissa Pitts, Sam Robinson, C. Julian White, Peter Wittrock and Katrinka Wolfson; as well as *Nathaniel Akstin-Johnson, *Annie Dennis, *Nicholas Ferreira, Adriana Flores, Emme Geissal, Samantha Girod, Ajouraye Jefferson, Alejandro Jimenez, Karina Lopez, *Richard Pluim, Steve Polites, and *Robert Shields. (*Alumni of Cal Poly Pomona)
Performances take place in the Studio Theatre on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Ave., Building 25, Pomona, CA 91768. Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm. Also, Friday, September 26 at 8:00 pm. Gala reception follows Saturday, September 13 performance.