Julius Caesar (1972): Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
PrJulius Caesar (1972)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Mark Dignam (Julius Caesar); Richard Johnson (Mark Antony); Corin Redgrave (Octavius Caesar); Patrick Stewart (Cassius); Margaret Tyzack (Portia); John Wood (Brutus).
"The new stage at Stratford-upon-Avon is imposing a new style of production on the Royal Shakespeare Company's directors. Four of them, under Trevor Nunn, unite to put on a revival of Julius Caesar which is unusually aggressive and spectacular. In place of the old austere Stratford way, all now is pomp and ceremony, with thunderous off-stage noises and stage effects that would do credit to a Nuremberg rally. Banners suddenly unfurl, red carpets roll from nowhere, and the black-leathered Romans recall the Hitlerian SS." ~ John Barber, "Stratford has heroic Brutus in John Wood", Daily Telegraph, 4 May 1972
"Like Coriolanus, this second production in Stratford's Roman season opens with a thunderous piece of civil pageantry. Amid brutal fanfares a red carpet unrolls down the rake and Caesar strides through a corridor of soldiers to face the audience downstage: his expression combining shifty cunning and lust for power. It is a thrilling gesture but, as with the tableau of the she-wolf in Coriolanus, it does not really fit the play. It seems we are being invited to view these dramas as episodes in the rise and fall of Rome, with tribal totem-worship leading to military autocracy....As for the two present productions, the plays hardly support the idea of civic development, unless development means the debauchery of the population. The crowd in Coriolanus has much right and reason on its side while in Julius Caesar it is a murderous and contemptible rabble." ~ Irving Wardle, "Julius Caesar: Royal Shakespeare Company", The Times, 4 May 1972