It's curtain up at 8 tonight for Nebraska Shakespeare's 26th year of presenting the bard's plays free in Elmwood Park.
“Julius Caesar” plays nightly this weekend, and “The Comedy of Errors” runs next Thursday through Sunday. The two shows, each with a cast of 21, will alternate performances for the closing weekend, July 5-8.
Nightly offerings on the green include an expanded list of food vendors and interactive Shakespearience for kids, starting at 6 p.m.; a scholars forum at 6:30 p.m.; and a 7 p.m. green show featuring the Heartland Community Flute Choir, juggler Jek Kelly (on “Julius Caesar” nights) and singers Madrigali et al.
Julius Caesar synopsis
The Roman mob loves him, while the ruling class is jealous, as Caesar returns from victory in Spain. A soothsayer warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March. Cassius fears he may become a tyrant, so he sways Caesar's friend Brutus against him. Casca and Cinna join the conspiracy. Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, has terrible dreams and asks Caesar to stay home that day. But he goes to the Senate on the Ides of March and is murdered. Mark Antony sways the people against the conspirators with a stirring funeral oration, starting civil war. Brutus and Cassius quarrel, while Mark Antony, Octavius and Lepidus join in opposition. Caesar's ghost warns Brutus of the battlefield at Philippi, where the conspirators meet their doom.
Alan Klem, Nebraska Shakespeare artistic director: “The play is set in 44 B.C., when Caesar really was assassinated. Two words describe the production: danger and polarization. Political conspiracy and assassination are very dangerous business, and bloody civil war is the result. We want audiences to feel the danger. The political polarization seen in Rome is something happening in America right now. People are moving away from the middle to extremes. In the play, there's even polarization between Brutus and Cassius on whether the fault is in our stars, or we are masters of our own fate. There are contrasts between Brutus and Caesar as well.”
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