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Friends, Romans, Countrymen: JULIUS CAESAR on Tour

We’re proud to announce our 2019 Education Tour, an immersive, 90-minute production of JULIUS CAESAR directed by Illana Stein, winner of the 2018 Drama League First Draft Residency and member of the Directing Company of New York Madness. Shakespeare’s iconic story of power and consequence will make initial stops at middle and high schools throughout the tri-state region between March 18 and May 3, 2019 and will be remounted in the summer for a brief tour of area venues and community spaces, including two free matinee performances at the HVSF Theater Tent.

Stein, who has an extensive background in directing Shakespeare and the classics on tour and at major regional institutions, hopes to right the wrongs of her own first experience with CAESAR. “What I love about this play is it’s a chance for students to use their critical thinking skills and find power in their own voice to participate in political dialogue,” she explained. “I first learned about JULIUS CAESAR in my high school AP English class, and was assigned to memorize Antony’s famous “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” speech. Individually, my classmates and I stood up to recite it, and points were taken off for wrong words, mispronunciation, wrong punctuation… there was no passion or emotional connection, no chance to examine the meaning of the speech.”

When we do this production justice, students’ loyalties should change throughout the play because their moral convictions are being tested.

Illana Stein, Director Tour: JULIUS CAESAR

“Ultimately, our goal is to create a visceral production through live, percussive sound, red, bold imagery of deceit and murder, and a world ready to unravel at any moment. In this post-apocalyptic setting, Rome feels like it is on the brink of collapse. It is a world of secrecy and fear. The walls have ears. When we do this production justice, students’ loyalties should change throughout the play because their moral convictions are being tested.”

Among the show’s six-person cast are returning HVSF Tour cast member Amanda Thickpenny as Cassius and HVSF 2018 Conservatory Company alum Susana Montoya Quinchia as Calpurnia. They are joined by Festival newcomers Zoe Goslin (Antony), Starr Kirkland (Portia/Casca), Christopher Robert Ellis (Brutus), and Jovani Zambrano (Caesar). Director Illana Stein is joined by Diggle (Set Designer), Anthony Paul-Cavaretta (Costume Designer), Alexis Black (Movement and Fight Director), and Titus Tompkins (Composer/Sound Designer). Christopher Denver is the Stage Manager.

JULIUS CAESAR is supported by a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Shakespeare in American Communities award. The grant, one of 40 provided to nonprofit, professional theater companies throughout the country, is a national program of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest and directly supports HVSF’s work in underserved schools.

Streamlined for clarity of both plot and language, performances will be followed by a talkback with the actors, and educators participating in the spring leg of the tour will be provided with a corresponding in-depth study guide. To book the tour for either the spring or summer, please contact Director of Education Sean McNall at smcnall@hvshakespeare.org or (845) 809-5750 ext. 19.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of JULIUS CAESAR is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest