ASC staffer Sky Wilson discusses why Eric Tucker’s unexpected production of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra is her favorite part of ASC’s Roman Trio.
When I first heard we were doing George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, I thought I knew what to expect: a slow, 20th-century play about a girl falling in love with a much older man. I could not have been more wrong.
Fast-paced, hilarious, and very, very touching – Caesar and Cleopatra has become my favorite of our Roman Trio this summer/fall! Director Eric Tucker took Shaw’s play and turned it on its head to make something totally unique and I can’t stop raving about it!
One of my favorite parts of the play is the complicated and special relationship between young Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. Armed with the knowledge of who she grows up to be in Antony and Cleopatra and his inevitable fate in Julius Caesar, this show becomes a weighty story about meeting the right person at the right time. Constance Swain and David Lewis both bring delightfully human qualities to these historical characters. I loved seeing Cleopatra mature, make mistakes, and change because of what Julius Caesar teaches her – and also how he changes because of her, too.
(Okay – I wasn’t planning on admitting this – but I *may* have cried at the end…Oops.)
But while the subject matter could have dipped into a dry, historical drama, director Eric Tucker does an amazing job creating a fabulously funny show. There is not a single dull moment! The performance’s many sight gags, running jokes*, and Easter eggs keep you on your toes throughout the show, while the physicality and quick-pacing make the story extra engaging. Eric also did an incredible job using our unique Blackfriars Playhouse and Shakespeare’s Staging Conditions to increase the fun. I laughed out loud – yes, actually out loud! – so many times during the first rehearsal I watched, and since then I have seen multiple performances, finding something new to laugh at each and every time. Eric Tucker does an awesome job balancing the script’s humanity with the hilarity he and the cast created.
*My personal favorite running joke is Chris Johnston’s “I’m the boatman!” catchphrase
Plus – the music?! I mean, all ASC shows have unbelievable musical performances at pre-show and intermission, but some of the picks for this show are just perfect! I don’t want to spoil it but at intermission there is a certain 2019 chart-topper which is performed with just the best comedic timing. It is one of my favorite parts of the entire evening.
I could write 3 more pages about how much I thoroughly enjoyed this show – but they gave me a 500-word limit. So, I’ll leave you with this: From the first pre-show song to the final poignant moment of the play, Caesar and Cleopatra is nothing you expect but everything you love. This is not one to be missed.
Here are a few of Sky’s favorite photos from the show:
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW TO CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA AND THE REST OF THE FALL REPERTORY SEASON.