About Julius Caesar
Power and Ambition. Friendship and Betrayal. Anarchy and Justice. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare: a fast and furious political tale for our time.
We, The School Of Theater, acknowledge that, from the time of Ohio University’s founding in 1804, it has occupied the traditional homelands of the Shawnee people, as well as the Wahzhazhe (who are also known as the Osage), who lived in Southeast Ohio before them. As the first federally legislated public university in the United States of America, Ohio University was an integral part of the U.S.’s westward expansion and empire building.
The Noblest Roman?
Why do we continue to recreate the stories of William Shakespeare year after year, century after century? And why have we, here at Ohio University, decided to perform Julius Caesar?
Believed to have been first performed in 1599, at a time when the succession of the English crown was in question, Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar with clear, direct language. Facing the potential of civil war, Shakespeare may have wanted his play to be difficult to misinterpret. In this version, edited by Shelley Delaney, you will see an abridged, fast-paced version of an already fast-paced play. The subplot of Antony and Octavius has been eliminated, condensing the action and allowing us to focus on the aspects of the play most relevant to us: How do we react when violence is near? What are we willing to sacrifice for perceived peace and liberty? What are the consequences of seeking and holding power?
As a historical figure, Julius Caesar had a huge impact on ancient Rome: reducing debt, expanding the Republic, reforming its laws. His death led to the rise of Augustus and the beginnings of the Roman Empire—so did Caesar seal the fate of the Republic? With its depiction of a rising dictator, Shakespeare’s Caesar lends itself to political commentary across ideology. It was produced with look-alikes of Barack Obama at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 2013 and Donald Trump at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 2017, both serving as Julius Caesar surrogates.
But Shakespeare’s play is more than political allegory. The story demonstrates the complexities of relationships between friends and enemies, and the unethical choices they are forced to make by their circumstances. In our production, we hope to start conversations. Who is the noblest Roman? When is the price for liberty too steep? Would you have made Julius bleed for justice’s sake?
By Luis Silva
The Resurrection of Caesar
I have my high school English teacher, Mrs. Soules, to thank for my love of Shakespeare. When she read the words aloud, they sang. My love has continued over many years: as a director, actor, acting teacher, reader and audience member, I’m still smitten. Yet, when I was asked if I would guest direct Julius Caesar I hesitated. In truth, I loved Julius Caesar less than most of Shakespeare’s plays. As a professional actor at a time when the casting world was pretty traditional regarding gender roles, I understood (but resented) the fact that there were only two female roles: two smart women who argued their points as well as the men in power but weren’t listened to or truly heard. Sound familiar? And as a person of the theater, the split-personality structure of the play (part tragedy/part history/part political cautionary tale) often left me cold. Yet, for me, it’s as a political play that Julius Caesar seems to be simultaneously of every moment and yet utterly of this moment.
In an opinion column published in The Washington Post on 9/7/2022, Dana Milbank opens with the quote/quip: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: They have come to resurrect Caesar.” The column goes on to provide evidence of a multiplicity of times and platforms (over two years) when American politicians, pundits and talking heads praise and advocate for totalitarianism, radical authoritarian action, “extra-constitutional remedies” and for an “American Julius Caesar to take power.” Regardless of one’s political affiliation or belief system, political platforms that emulate the late Republican period of 1st century B.C. warrant deep questioning and thorough examination. https://wapo.st/3RwDT2M
One way to do that might be to watch an Elizabethan playwright take on ancient Roman History filtered through a contemporary theatrical lens and imagined and performed by current students at Ohio University. Hopefully it will be fun, enlightening, strange and maybe a bit alarming. And then ask some questions. About the production, about those recently in power, currently in power, those seeking power and those who you choose to support. Then make a commitment to vote in November. With that privilege in hand consider using your vote to protest those who aspire to be 21st-century Caesars.
By Shelley Delaney
Ohio University School of Theater
Welcome to the 2022-2023 OHIO Theater Season!
We are thrilled to welcome you to live theater on the Athens campus. Our shops, studios, and classrooms are central to the artistic work our students produce each year. Working collaboratively with all disciplines, our productions celebrate telling complex, vivid stories of what it means to human in changing times.
The School of Theater supports multiple types of storytelling on our stages, from new play development to Shakespeare reimagined. Vibrancy Theater is a student-run theater focused on “uplifting and broadcasting the Black, Indigenous and People of Color in theatre at Ohio University and beyond.” They’ll be presenting a new adaptation of Lorca’s Yerma in the spring semester.
Tantrum Theater, OHIO’s professional theater, will feature two productions this season, bringing professional directors, stage managers, designers, technicians, and actors to work side-by-side with our students. Hotel Berry, a new play written by Jacqueline E. Lawton and commissioned by Tantrum, centers on Athens’ only Black business owners, Edward and Mattie Berry, and their world-famous hotel in 1912. In the spring, the musical Carrie will engage our students is a very different way to tell a personal story of one young woman’s search for identity.
We’ll close the spring semester with our final Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival. With the retirements of Professors Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey, we’ve made the difficult decision to sunset the MFA Playwriting degree. Please join us to celebrate the 29th annual festival and say farewell to our beloved program.
As an audience member and supporter, you’ll engage with new students discovering their craft and advanced students writing and designing their thesis productions. Thank you for taking this journey with us and helping celebrate what theater does best: reflect our changing times.
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Shelley Delaney
Power and Ambition. Friendship and Betrayal. Anarchy and Justice. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is a fast and furious political tale for our time.
Virginia Hahne Theater
October 6-8 @ 8PM
October 7 @ 4pm
October 8 @ 2PM
Doctor Voynich and Her Children: a Prediction
By Leanna Keyes
Directed by Tyler Everett Adams
Doctor Rue Voynich and her apprentice Fade travel the American Heartland dispensing herbal medications. They also covertly perform abortions--long ago made illegal. When approached by a local young woman, Hannah, to perform an abortion, Fade must assist her before the sheriff can nail them for the “attempted murder of an unborn person.” This post-Roe v. Wade play about mothers and daughters is poetic, sexy, vulgar, queer, and a little too real.
Virginia Hahne Theater
October 20-22 @ 8PM
October 22 @ 2PM
what the Gods gave me
By Eryn Elyse McVay
Directed by Molly H. Donahue
Moon magic, man eaters, and matrimony; the women of Nevermoore Inn are preparing for the first night of the rest of their lives, but their carefully crafted mythos is about to catch fire. Written by OU’s own Eryn Elyse McVay, what the Gods gave me is a story about the magic of the family and the power of the individual.
November 3-5 @ 8PM
November 5 @ 2PM
By Jacqueline E. Lawton
Directed by JaMeeka Holloway
By 1912 Athens’ only Black business owners, Edward and Mattie Berry, have established one of the finest hotels in Ohio, with visitors from all over the country. When former president and now presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt decides to stay at the hotel, a potential moment of pride and joy unleashes scandal and political upheaval.
November 17-19 @ 8PM
November 30-December 3 @ 8PM
December 3 @ 2PM
1st Year MFA Directors’ Projects
To Be Announced
Directed by Devin Ty Franklin and Caitlin Lopez
First year MFA Directing students Devin Ty Franklin and Caitlin Lopez will each present a one-act play to introduce themselves as artists to our community. We are proud and excited to produce their work. Titles and production information are forthcoming.
March 2-4 @ 8PM
March 4 @ 2PM
March 7-10 @ 8PM
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Music by Michael Gore
Adapted from Stephen King’s Carrie
Directed and Choreographed by Victoria Sook
Adapted from Stephen King's 1974 novel Carrie, the musical focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she unleashes chaos on everyone and everything in her path.
Elizabeth Baker Theater
March 9 &10, 21-25 @ 8PM
March 25th @ 12PM
By Federico García Lorca
Directed by Ally Poole
A woman in a passionless marriage, who wants nothing more than to have a child. A community that measures a woman’s worth by their ability to bear children. Yerma, for anyone who has ever desperately wanted something and found that it was just beyond their reach.
April 13-15, 18-22 @ 8:00pm
April 22 @ 2PM
29th Annual Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival
Plays by Eryn Elyse McVay & Steven Strafford
The annual Ohio University Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival held each year at the end of the Spring Semester represents the culmination of the work of OU’s MFA Playwrights. Join us to celebrate and help in the creation of new work!
April 13-15, 18-22
Please join us for the entire season of live in-person theater. You won’t want to miss a minute!
Director, Associate Professor of Instruction
School of Theater