September 9, 10, 11
Et tu, Brute? In-fighting among contemporary coeds takes a page from bloody ancient Rome in Julianne Caesar, a new play by David Starkey opening September 9 for a three-day run at Santa Barbara's Center Stage Theater. In this tragi-comedy directed by Michelle Osborne, the theater department of Connie Francis College prepares to put on an all-women production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Backstage rivalries mirror to some extent the on-stage doings of Shakespeare's tragedy: betrayal and ill omens which presage murder. The play bounces from the California-speak of the actors to their eloquent Shakespeare speeches, both in rehearsal and in moments of high emotion--often with a comic twist.
"How many ages hence / Shall this our lofty scene be acted over, / In states unborn, and accents yet unknown?" says Cassius to Brutus in Julius Caesar. Surely the bard never imagined reenacting the "lofty scene" in an all woman's college in Southern California--with Valley Girl accents to boot!
Megan (Serena Bottiani) has been sleeping with the director Peter (Will deAngelis) and has snagged the lead role of Brutus. Rival Julianne (M.C. Wolfe) feels that she is the better actress and a jealous feud breaks out between the women and their sidekicks, Stephanie (Jenalee Reidenbaugh) and Heidi (Tiffany Cole). Rumors that the two girls were lovers in their freshman year fuel campus gossip between Natalie (Tori Sanchez), Amanda (Molly Payne), and Diana (Annie Chase). Dramaturg Larissa (Elyse Fults) tries to maintain calm among the cast as wildfires threaten. Tensions rise and animosity builds to the first act conclusion, where the staged murder of Caesar goes awry during the opening night performance. Before they know it, the girls at college become sought out for major media attention and Campus Security Chief Dickerson (Seth Baumhover) gets in the act.
Julianne Caesar premiered in a New York fringe production in June 2004, followed by a run in the Midtown Theatre Festival there in July. It's the second of local playwright David Starkey's plays to be offered by New Bard at Center Stage, after a successful run of Soccer Moms last February. Company web site: www.newbardproductions.com
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