CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A modern day portrayal of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” influenced by one of Netflix’s most popular dramas, was presented from October 13-18 by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. As told on the Ides of March by the women of Republic Prison, the tragedy was delivered in a similar fashion as the hit show, “Orange is the New Black.”
The play was adapted and directed by Alison Frost, Assistant Professor of Theatre, and featured an all-female cast, a concept she has had in mind for the play for the last 10 years.
“Shakespeare’s legacy of unforgettable roles including Hamlet, Brutus, Macbeth, Lear and many others were never written or conceived to be portrayed by women,” said Frost. “It has been a wonderful challenge as a director and acting teacher watching our cast of 21 women embody the personas of these strong, educated, and eloquent Roman men—making daily discoveries about gender roles and stereotypes, power, politics and commitment.”
Frost says the cast has done extensive research into the lives of real women in prison systems in order to create characters that fit with their roles. In addition, the story was adapted to include elements of stage combat and hip-hop.
The plot revolved around Julius Caesar who seemed to have an insurmountable amount of power after returning to Rome following the defeat of Pompey. However, as evidenced by the deceit of some of the ruler’s closest confidants, either the political rhetoric by persuasive intellectuals or brute force will determine Caesar’s fate – and that of the Republic. The audience accompanied the women of Republic Prison as they recounted Caesar’s tale of politics, betrayal, and war.