Monday, February 18, 2008

$46 dollars and three hours of my life down the drain...

If I had to warn you all away from a Shakespearean production this year, I'd have to settle on the A.R.T.' s Julius Caesar now running down in Harvard Square. Bloated, loaded up with inpenetrable symbolism, rife with robotic acting and glacially paced at a torpid three hours plus, this has to be one of the worst Shakespeare productions I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of BAD interpretations of the Bard in my time.
I'm not sure what Director Arthur Nauzyciel had in mind, but it looks like he told his Brutus (one Jim True-Frost) to stare at the audience and recite the lines sans emotion or any of the actor's skill behind them. Sara Kathryn Bakker does as well as can be expected in the double role of Portia and Calpurnia but then she apparently ignored the whole "play it way android" meme
Otherwise the whole cast seems to execute on this mechanistic level, reciting, not acting...and they are SLOW reciters at that, what when they are not creeping around on stage like arthritis sufferers or listening rapturously at an inexplicable Jazz Trio complete with chanteuse.
If you are wondering why the play clocks in at three plus hours you can start with the above listed elements and do the math.
Orson Welles electrified Broadway when he dressed Julius Caesar up fascist regalia and got the whole thing down to about ninety minutes with no intermission so the legend goes. The A.R.T. isn't satsfied until it can double that running time no matter how many inappropriate song or dance interludes have to be hammered into Shakespeare's play til the damn thing rings up finally as ART!


amusings_bnl said...

yikes and a half.
i was thinking of taking my daughter, a 10th grade shakespeare nut, a "rebel shakespeare" student, to go see this.

your review is scaring me off.
and maybe that's a good thing. because ... well... yeah.

Zolok said...

Honestly at three plus hours the ART's Julius Caesar is a hard slog all around. The acting is torpid and uneven, unless your daughter needs a good example of how NOT to execute a Shakespeare play I recommend passing on this one.