Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Et tu, Brute?

It was indeed an interesting experience the Julius Caesar I saw yesterday together with Liesbeth. First of all, it was the demonstration that you can do honest theatre without means, without costumes, without scenes... even without a theatre and actors. All you need is a good text and atmosphere.

The atmosphere. Indeed, it was a strange one and the place helped a lot. Not a theatre, but what turned out to be one of the strangest places ever, a mix without a second-hand shop, an antiquities gallery, a pub and a laboratory. A place to be seen and where I will see to return soon. The stage was arranged in the pub section, a long gallery ending in ample steps acting as stalls with tables. Just being able to watch a play with a table in front of us and a bottle of wine to sip as the story unfolded (and food, if we had fancied that), would had been worth the ticket's price (which was, anyway, pretty inexpensive).

The actors came, all dressed in black and wearing now a stole of different colors, now a veil, sometimes a wooden katana and the play went along, the actors sitting on bench at the back of the improvised scene when not "on stage" themselves. Extremely good was the one playing Cassius, good both Caesar and Calpurnia/Metella, very interesting the female actor playing Casca/Portia (yes, there were women playing men's parts, rather than men playing women's ones). A bit behind the one playing Brutus and Marc Anthony, but I must say it could be that, at my eyes, they were absolutely unfit for the role. It was not a lack in acting, at all, but my "suspension of disbelief" went away as they were acting. For instance, Marc Anthony, even today in Rome remembered for his physical prowess ("Un gran pezzo di Marc'Antonio", we say, to signify a hunk) was played by the smallest actor of the group.

The play itself had been, as it was to be expected, shortened and divided in two halves. Liesbeth thought everything was over as the first half ended with Caesar being stabbed and frowned as I told her it was just half of it. Truth to be said the benches/chairs we were sitting on, hard wood and nothing else, were uncomfortable after a while and apparently so was the thought of the girl who had seated at our table, who eventually ended up chatting with Liesbeth while we were waiting for the long half time break to be over.

As the play resumed, I had to face once again the fact that Julius's Caesar's second part is boring compared to the first one and not even Caesar's ghost could redeem it. They last moments of the Caesaricides unfolded, the last scene seeing the only effects of the whole play, with thunders rolling and a sound of rain accompanying the two men's death.

Only, it was not scenic effects, as it had really started to pour outside, as we noticed trying to leave. The over-caring owner of the place tried to help us providing something for when we would had reached the scooter and off we were. I must say, Liesbeth was pretty with her hair curling up due the rain and cute as she jumped here and there trying to avoid the immense puddles and the string streams that, as usual, formed everywhere. A careful drive back to Liesbeth's place (few things are more dangerous than Rome's sanpietrini when they are wet), a quick parting to avoid the reprisal of the rain and a quick drive home, and the night was out.

And as always when I have a good time, I was left with the sensation of lacking something. Someone, rather. Can't wait for friday to be here again.

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