“It's the greatest thing since sliced Caesar!”
Tim Mooney cuts away two hours of asides, diversions and blind alleys, stripping away just the right number of extraneous “trees” to reveal the essential “forest” of Shakespeare’s great historical tragedy in this one-man one-hour romp.
Mooney bridges Shakespeare's original language with ongoing narration and wise-guy commentary that keeps the audience in the story with just enough background to understand how this play must have looked to Elizabethan eyes.
At a single taut hour, Breakneck Julius Caesar serves up one of Shakespeare's greatest speeches, the world's most famous assassination, and even a surprise ending! No matter how many times you’ve seen the play before, you probably won’t see it coming!
I didn’t quite set out to turn Julius Caesar on its head. I’ve been performing ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’ for about ten years, and it’s always been an astonishing speech. I wanted to go back and figure out how Shakespeare gets us to that point, and how (and why) he keeps going. The more that I looked at it, the more I began to realize that the ending of the play, as we are used to seeing it, is simply wrong! I’m keeping Shakespeare’s language entirely intact (except for the bridging narrative and the cuts), and this ‘new interpretation’ lives purely in the inflection of a specific speech at the end.
I put up a lot of resistance to this ‘new ending!’ People are used to seeing Julius Caesar with a very particular interpretation! Any time the movies cast Hollywood heavyweights like James Mason and Jason Robards (as Brutus), there’s a certain gravity and sobriety that surrounds that interpretation. But, over the course of reading and seeing this play some half-dozen times, I’ve always felt something missing, and this new leap into the unknown seemed to be the only way that this work hangs together as a piece.