Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shakespeare Santa Cruz Announces 2009 Season

I am immeasurably pleased that Shakespeare Santa Cruz has announced their new season. They're rolling out the crowd-pleasers, too. A Midsummer Night's Dream is Shakespeare's most popular play, and Julius Caesar is his most American one.

Dream is perhaps most popular because most people think the language is more accessible than most. I don't think that's true. I think it's most popular because you can't break it. It's harder to make a bad Dream than it is an easy one. It's very rare that an audience leaves a playhouse disliking a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is Shakespeare's most theatrically interesting play in that it in habits four worlds and blurs the boundaries between them. A much longer post is needed to talk more about this.

Julius Caesar is the most American play because it is about assassination in the name of democracy. The meaning, the importance, and the cost of democracy are all at stake in Caesar. It's one of my favorite plays, and productions of it are more dangerous than other plays. Which side do you push? Which character is right? Who is the villain? Hero? It's almost (almost) as if the play begs its audience to ask those questions. But while you're asking them, it scoffs at you with irony, making you feel bad for having bothered. By bad, I mean sad, I guess. It is a tragedy, after all.

The photo above is of Yvonne Woods in Burn This. Just an excuse to put her picture on the blog because I think she is beautiful and talented. I hope she's at Santa Cruz this year. They haven't announced the cast yet.

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