Preview-The Tragedy of Miss Julius Caesar-Shakespeare in the Port


By: Dan Wilson

When you think of Julius Caesar you typically think of old men in togas with laurels on their heads. But director Hannah Lochhead thought of something very different. She loves Shakespeare and she loves burlesque and wanted to marry them in one project - and Julius Caesar seemed the perfect vessel for combining the two genres. "During my research for the show I had seen several other versions of this story using burlesque. This story of ambition and power is perfectly suited for this world."


Here's the high concept in summary: "In 1931 NYC, the Winter Garden Theatre is home to a Burlesque troupe fighting to keep their business alive through the Great Depression. Caesar, the star of the show and house master’s favourite, is set to break out of the chorus line and follow in the footsteps of Gypsy Rose Lee. A group of ambitious dancers are determined to stop her rise to the top."  Death in the Senate becomes death on stage, putting those backstage politics into the limelight.



Alongside the time transposal, there's gender switching too.  The Tragedy of Miss Julius Caesar bills a 99% female cast with Adam Kalfauoi taking on the role of Calpurnia (Caesar's wife in the traditional story). Adam considers himself the "luckiest guy in Hong Kong" to be so outnumbered.


The cast is a multi-culutral tapestry of performers, perfectly reflecting the melting pot of Hong Kong, hailing from places like Ireland, the UK, Korea, Italy, Brazil, Morocco, New Zealand... and Hong Kong itself. All are currently working as artists locally and, to a (wo)man, delighted to bring this first Shakespeare in the Port to the territory.


"The stage is massive and so beautiful with all the fairy lights. I think audiences are going to have a wonderful time at the festival," says Lara Owen.


The minute you walk into rehearsals with the cast you get a sense of sisterhood, with a whole lot of devising going on through the rehearsal process. "Hannah has been a wonderful director",says Jessica Walsh (playing Cassius).. "She let us share our opinions on the process of making the play and the freedom to create our characters," 



The Tragedy of Miss Julius Caesar opens this Friday, April 18th at 7:30pm. Show times for the evening performances are: 4/18, 4/20, 4/23, 4/24, 4/27, 4/30, 5/1. Show times for the 3pm matinees are 4/19, 4/26, 5/3. The April 26th show should be an especially fun experience for all the family as it's commemorating Shakespeare's 450th Birthday, with games and cake following the 3pm show.


Tickets for the festival can be purchased online via Ticketflap or at the door with cash. They are 150HKD for a weekday pass or 300HKD for a weekend pass. There is a 50HKD dollar increase when buying tickets at the door. You can find out more information about the festival and how to reach Cyberport via the festival website. You can also connect in with the festival through its facebook page.


For more information about Shakespeare in the Port, click here.


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