Image courtesy of St Augustine United Church.
St Augustine United Church
Although one may be sceptical of a football-based modernisation of a classic Shakespeare play, fear not, for the student-run Aulos Productions team’s execution of a potentially risky concept was pleasantly surprising. With the football concept being more of a back drop and a method of visually separating the Romas and the Lazios – with each team wearing a different colour kit – it did not impede on the quality of the play. The modernisations may have even enhanced the overall production as they added comic relief between the more intense dramatic scenes of this Shakespearian tragedy.
As the original play begins with a street celebration of Caesar’s war victory, this production begins with a televised newscast about the Roma’s success in their last match against Lazio. The projector, which was housed on the right -hand side of the stage, allowed the audience to see newsreels, adverts (which were mostly irrelevant but comical, including a few witty jokes about the play), texts sent to the characters and a Skype call. While the Skype call was an arguably poor way to re-engage the audience after the interval, the other modern touches which alluded to the present world cleverly made the play more accessible to everyone watching.
Every member of the cast acted with conviction and enthusiasm. The dialogue between Cassius and Brutus was particularly commendable as each actor delivered their lines in a way which made the difficult language very easy to understand. The actors’ chemistry was also a joy to see, especially as many of the characters experience emotional highs and lows, comprising love and rivalries, throughout the play. The enjoyment and enthusiasm of the entire cast manifested itself in the high quality of their performance.
Modernising Shakespeare is always difficult and while the play is not perfect, it was definitely worth watching to see just how successfully Aulos Productions managed this unique and risky concept.