A different take on ‘Julius Ceasar’ gets early screening in Charleston

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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A watercolor by Frank Peabody.

The Holy City Shakespeare company managed to get its hands on a copy of the movie “Julius Caesar” and will be showing it Saturday before the film is released to the public.

Directed by Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this 2012 production of the story apparently “shook the World Shakespeare Festival,” said Holy City Shakespeare Artistic Director Laura Rose.

Rose tells us a little bit about the production: “The dictator Caesar must be assassinated ... but who will replace him? ‘Julius Caesar’ is a taut portrayal of the struggle against tyranny and of men and country divided by an explosive act of betrayal. Set in a modern African state, this production of the great political thriller features a distinguished cast of black actors including Paterson Joseph as Brutus, Jeffery Kissoon as Caesar, Cyril Nri as Cassius and Ray Fearon as Mark Antony.”

Rose said the Charleston community should not miss this particular screening.

“There is a story behind Doran’s inspiration for this production that speaks to Shakespeare’s connection with people all over the world. Anti-apartheid activists imprisoned at Robben Island, South Africa, in the 1970s circulated a disguised copy of ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’ — they told the guards it was a Bible — and it became known as ‘The Robben Island Bible.’ Thirty-three men imprisoned there signed their favorite passages, including Nelson Mandela, who chose a quote from Julius Caesar: ‘Cowards die many times before their deaths/The valiant never taste of death but once.’

“Not many people might expect to see Shakespeare performed with an all-black cast, or in a modern situation that finds such moving resonance with today’s world. But to me, this adaptability to a wide diversity of human experience is a huge part of the value of Shakespeare’s plays. Further, this production is the kind of performance the HCS Ensemble is aiming for — what it can sound like, look like, feel like. It’s the quality of theater we strive for as we make Shakespeare a home in Charleston.”

The film was shot on location at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in London, where it was first performed. The film will be shown 2-5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Charleston County Main Library Auditorium, 68 Calhoun St. The viewing is free and open to the public.

Call 754-7267 or go to www.holycityshakespeare.org for more.

Watercolor exhibit

The Real Estate Studio will host the works of watercolor painter Frank Peabody through Dec. 4 with an artist reception scheduled Nov. 2.

Peabody spent most of his life as a business executive in Kentucky and later New York. He started painting only after his retirement and since then has studied and painted throughout Vermont and South Carolina, as well as all over the world.

His works are realistic yet sometimes possess a humorous, loose quality that reflects his emotions. Other times, they simply represent the serenity he experiences while creating art.

“Painting is an adventure for me, having spent my entire career in the business world,” Peabody said. “In painting, I find peace and serenity. I am drawn by everyday subjects in my life from people to places to things. My challenge is to capture the beauty of these subjects in my paintings and infuse them with emotion, mystery and a dash of drama.”

The show will be on exhibit at The Real Estate Studio, 214 King St. The artist reception will be 6-8 p.m. Nov. 2 and will feature wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

Call 722-5618.