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 The Drilling Company Presents: Julius Caesar In a Modern School Board

Posted: July 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm; By: Editor  

The Drilling Company will be presenting a staging of Shakespeare's historical drama Julius Caesar in the modern setting of a school system from July 29th through August 14th. The innovative production will literally take place in a municipal parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets in Manhattan.

The performances are free and run from Thursdays-Saturday starting at 8pm. The shows running time is approximately 2 hours 10 minutes. For more information call: 212-873-9050 or visit the company's website: shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.

For more information about the production and the company, here's the show's press release :

The second and final production this summer of The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot will be "Julius Caesar," directed by Hamilton Clancy (Artistic Director) July 29 to August 14. In an unusual adaptation, Shakespeare's drama about the nature of ambition and politics is set in a contemporary urban school system.

The Drilling Company's two-part Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot season also includes "Love's Labours Lost," directed by Kathy Curtis, July 8 to 24. This is the 19th consecutive year for Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot, a favorite New York summertime cultural treat that is performed free in a municipal parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan.

In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," a favorite for all ages, the commoners rejoice over Caesar's triumph over Pompey while the patricians, fearing his irresistable ambition, conspire against him and enlist the noble Brutus to their cause with the manipulation of wily Cassius. After their plot is successful and Caesar is assasinated, Mark Antony incites the rabble against the conspirators with uncanny rhetorical skill, then allies with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus against Brutus and Cassius. Octavius' army prevails and Cassius and Brutus are forced to accept defeat by falling on their own swords.

In this updated version, Shakespeare's text is intact but Caesar becomes an administrative head of a school murdered by staffers and parents intent on preserving the prior system. The roles of Cassius and Mark Antony are cast with women. Director Hamilton Clancy explains, "We're trying to find small worlds where the struggles for power and authority are intense and fought with life and death vigor. We were also searching for worlds in which women share power on an equal level with men. When we look around today at the front pages of our papers, those battles are being fought over the school system and education because in America, our class wars are being fought tooth and nail in the halls of schools all over the city. Along comes one man who says to the Department of Education, give over control of all the schools to me and everything will be better."

Clancy explains where the idea came from "We talked about how we govern ourselves, through plurality or charisma. Is it individuals who lead or systems that work? Big government versus small government?" A big city's school system seemed to be a suitable microcosm for a fresh look at the question.

Hamilton Clancy (Director, Caesar) is founder and producing Artistic Director of The Drilling Company. As an actor, he has appeared in new works Off-Broadway in cluding "Dog Logic" at the American Place Theatre and "The Retributionists," directed by Leight Silverman at Playwrights Horizons. His films include the Coen Brothers "Burn After Reading" and Ridley Scott's "American Gangster." For television, he has appeared on "Third Watch," "Law and Order," "The Unusuals," "Life on Mars," "All My Children" and "One Life to Life," among others. In the Parking Lot, he began as an actor and quickly became a producer and director as well. As an actor he has played Hamlet, Henry the Fifth, Benedict and Petruchio. As a director, his previous parking lot productions include "Two Gentlemenen of Verona" set in Little Italy and last summer's "Measure for Measure " set in the Deep South. For The Drilling Company, he has directed world premieres of "Mutant Sex Party" by Edward Manning, "Over the Line" by NYIT award winning P.Seth Bauer and "Bird Brain" by Vern Theissen, winner of the Canadian Govenor's award. He has produced other premieres including "Atomic Farmgirl" by C. Denby Swanson (recognized with grants from the McKnight Foundtion, Jerome Foundation and TCG), "Windows on the World" by Peter Killy, "Big Apples" by Stephen Bittrich and "Dealers" by Neal Olson. For The Drilling Company, he has commissioned and produced over 200 short plays, including an early short version of the Pulitzer prize recognized "Thom Pine:based on nothing" by Will Eno, in which he also originated the title role, and Vincent Delaney's Heidemann award winning short, "KUWAIT." He has also produced and directed multiple work by Andrea Moon, Brian Dykstra, Scott Baker, Eric Henry Sanders. In the fall, he will direct the world premiere of "The Reservoir" by Eric Heny Sanders.

Rebecca Lord, (Costume Design), currently of NYU's graduated design program, returns as designer to the Parking Lot for her third season, having previously designed The Drilling Company's ""Measure for Measure," "Midsummer Night's Dream," "Twelfth Night," "FAITH," "Atomic Farmgirl," "HERO" and "JUSTICE, SECURITY, and REVENGE part 2."

The cast features Selene Beretta, a company member of NY's Amoralists Theatre Company and several past Drilling Company productions as Cassius. Ivory Aquino, a member of the Flea Theatre's BATS and Leviathan Theatre group who appeared last summer as Isabella in "Measure for Measure," plays Marc Antony. She is a cousin of former Philippine prime minister Corazon Aquino. Mark Jeter, who last appeared in the Parking Lot in "Measure for Measure," will play Brutus. Brandon Riley, seen memorably in "Over the Line" at The Drilling Company this fall, plays Lucius. Bill Green, who appeared in "Measure for Measure" and "Much Ado about Nothing," plays Casca. The cast also includes Bobby Plasencia, Brian D. Hills, Leila Okafor, Marianna Caldwell, Joann Sacco, Bill Green, Amanda C. Fuller and Jarad Benn.

The Drilling Company (www.drillingcompany.org) took over as producer of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot seven years ago. [A history of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot will be available soon on the Drilling Company website.] The troupe, founded in 1999, is also a prolific presenter of new works in its permanent home at 236 West 78th Street (one block south of the #1 train at 79th Street), where it nurtures and produces new works by emerging playwrights. The Drilling Company has developed and produced works by such well known playwrights as Will Eno, Brian Dykstra, C. Denby Swanson, Tom Strelich, Vincent Delaney, Eric Henry Sanders and Trish Harnetiaux. The company is led by Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, who has been an actor in Coen Brothers "Burn After Reading" and Ridley Scott's " American Gangster" and recently appeared at Playwrights Horizons in "The Retributionists" by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Leigh Silverman.

The pairing of "Love's Labours Lost" and "Julius Caesar" for this year's Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot was actually a thematic choice, not a marriage of convenience. Says Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, "We thought it was a good time to explore two works about folks getting along--and not--in love and politics."

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM for both shows. Seating is on a first come first served basis, with audience members often arriving as early as 7:00 PM to secure a place. You are encouraged and welcome to bring your own chair. Once seats are gone, blankets are spread out.

This production is made possible with Funds from The New York State Council on the Arts and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

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