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Beware the Ides of March

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By Elena Pollack


   

Brutus, played by Josh Innerst, looks at his hand covered in Caesar's blood. (Photo courtesy of the Performing Arts Center)
Brutus, played by Josh Innerst, looks at his hand covered in Caesar’s blood. (Photo courtesy of the Performing Arts Center)

   On Oct. 20 in the Performing Arts Center, the American Shakespeare Center performed “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare. The tragedy is centered on the great Roman leader Julius Caesar and a plot to remove him from power in Rome, thereby freeing the Romans of an alleged tyrant. It’s bloody, passionate, rightfully tragic, and was brought to life on stage at the University at Albany.

   Shakespeare is its own language, one with its own vocabulary and rules, yet the stories are no less thrilling than what we read today. Reading Shakespeare, as we all most likely have done in one English class or another, is incredibly difficult. Credit must go to those who not only read it and understand it, but to those who can deliver these complicated lines to an audience that does not necessarily consist of Shakespeare enthusiasts.

The play was dramatic, tragic, and yet also very funny. Several of the characters deliver humorous lines for comedic relief, and the cast also performed as a band before the show and during the intermission. They did covers of songs such as “Blood” by My Chemical Romance, “Resistance” by Muse, “Toxicity” by System of the Down, “Pompeii” by Bastille, and “Think” by Aretha Franklin.

   Cast members of the play included Andrew Goldwasser as Casca, Strato, a Plebian, and Titinius, Jessica Lefkow as Decius Brutus, Lucilius, and a Plebian, Josh Innerst as Brutus, and Patrick Poole as Anthony.

Albany Student Press: Which is your favorite Shakespeare play to perform?

Andrew Goldwasser: My favorite Shakespeare play is “Winter’s Tale” but I’ve not yet gotten to perform it… one day. My favorite to perform, so far, has probably been “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Jessica Lefkow: The one I’m in at any given time. Seriously. These plays have so much to offer an actor, and the longer the run, the more one finds in the part. 

Josh Innerst:Julius Caesar” is a great show to run. It flows from moment to moment flawlessly. Well done Will.

Patrick Poole: My favorite Shakespeare play I’ve performed in has got to be “Julius Caesar.” I love the character of Antony. Having the opportunity to speak some of the most famous lines in the Western theatre world is a thrill each time. Even though I’ll be with this play for a year, I know I’ll jump at the chance to be in it again. 

ASP: How did you get involved with the American Shakespeare Center?

AG: I had just moved to New York… thinking I was settling there for good. Ready to get to work. Hit the auditioning scene. ASC was my very first audition. Got the job… here I am almost four years later. 

PP: I graduated with my MFA in Theatre from the University of Houston. Jim Warren, ASC’s Artistic Director, auditions the grad students from that program every year. The training at UH falls in line pretty well with ASC. In fact, there were five Houston grads on tour last year and there are three this year, one of whom I graduated with. 

ASP: You play a lot of music during the show. Did you know these instruments beforehand, or did you learn them as you went along?

AG: Our musicians are absolutely amazing. I don’t play instruments… I sing… and watch my colleagues pick up whatever instruments they can get their hands on and figure out how to rock on them. I am in awe of that talent. 

JL: I do not play any instruments for our band, but singing is something I’ve become much more comfortable with on this particular job. I would totally sing anything I was allowed to from here on in. 

JI: I played several before I got here but being here has required learning a few new instruments. The Bass, the drums, and Banjo have all been picked up since I joined the company.

PP: Some I knew before and some I picked up. That’s true of quite a few of us. Some things I wanted to learn, like the harmonica. Others I had to do out of necessity, like the drums. We were literally out of people for a show last year so I had to play them. I actually like the drums a lot so it worked out. 

ASP: Anything you would like to say to the student body?

AG: Thank you for having us. And to those who came and saw the show. And to those who helped us get places when we were lost on your campus. Thanks, thanks, thanks. 

JP: If you want to make art, remember that it imitates life; make sure to go out and have one. Appreciate your opportunities to shine. Lastly, luck is 9/10 just showing up. 

JI: Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll become the best version of yourself you can become.

PP: I always stress how important it is to do what you love and get paid for it. I love this career and I wish all of you feel the same way about the path you find yourselves on. If you don’t, then change the path! And support the arts! They makes us better humans. 

ASP: Finally, what is your favorite dessert?

AG: This time of year… sweet potato pie.

JL: Cherry Garcia Ice Cream. 2 scoops. 

JI: Ice-cream. Any kind. Also gin.

PP: Pie. Just all the pies. 
   For more information about the American Shakespeare Center, their tours, the actors, and the Shakespeare swag, go to http://americanshakespearecenter.com/

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