Soicetas Raffaello Sanzio, Julius Caesar

Review in Issue 11-3 | Autumn 1999

In this extraordinary production by the Societas Raffaello Sanzio, the great orator Julius Caesar is played by a man without vocal chords. The text’s great public speeches are delivered with the aid of a voice amplifier. In this way, the words of the body are truly spoken; the transformative power of metaphor is incarnated on the stage.

This is but one instance of the manifold fascination and intelligence that made this production – contrary to the unfortunate and misinforming pre publicity – the most sincere and serious presentation of Shakespeare’s play you could hope to see. In the first half, the production offers the public speeches, the rhetoric of political address, and the murder (evoked with simplicity, through the ritual cleansing of the victim’s body). Then comes the aftermath of assassination, with the erstwhile conspirators finding no other end to their private speeches than suicide. The first is played with all men; the second, by two women. This structure offers a profound vision of the play. It resonates with the fearful questions of present wars: Why is it that heads of state still remain immune to the devastation that they wreak? What is the fear that protects ‘our political masters’, who command the maiming and murder of others, while also laying waste to the environment?

The production is an object lesson in relating the languages of theatre. Here there is no separation of ‘textual’ and ‘physical’ or ‘visual’; the production indeed offers an instance of ‘total theatre’.

Topics
Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-3
p. 22