IMG_2359By Gabriela Mendoza
Staff Writer
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LBCC’s theater program adds gender-bending and ethnic divers1ty in an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”
The original version of “Julius Caesar” is written with Caesar as a male. In LBCC’s adaptation, female theatre student Chariot Jones plays Caesar. “It’s something different that you’re not going to see all the time,” said actor Tyler Gray, 33, an undecided major.
Theatre director, Greg Mortensen, called the play a kind of political statement that mirrors modern society.
Mortensen said he implemented gender-bending to capitalize on the idea of a powerful woman ruler and the difference between public and private face.
Mortensen said, “Long Beach is truly the international city,” emphasizing the importance of the city’s diversity to the adaptation of the play.
Mortensen said he practiced “rainbow casting,” meaning he did not cast based on race, allowing him to reflect Long Beach’s diversity.
Despite the character adaptations, the play still holds its historical accuracy. Dennis Pearson, 26, a theatre and arts major, said, “I did a lot of historical character research.”
Gray, playing Marc Antony, said he studied for his role by visiting the Cleopatra Museum and read about Antony’s relationship with Caesar.
Mortensen said, “I love providing the opportunity to use great language, with great characters to tell great stories.”
Mortensen also said he is exerted about the talent of his actors. He said the group, ranging from beginning to veteran actors, is full of talent and potential.
“Americans have a facility and gift that most actors in the world don’t,” said Mortensen as he paraphrased his former professor.
“We have a drive and passion that illuminates the words of Shakespeare.” Julius Caesar will be Pearson’s fifth production at LBCC and his first time on stage in two years. Pearson called his part, as Marcus Brutus his, “first dream role.”
Gray said, “It’s my first play in five years. I cherish these moments because you never know when the next acting gig will be.”
Pearson said the audience can expect a, “really cool, very action-packed play that has a little bit of something for everyone.”
Mortensen said, “Each and every play we do here has a message. I want people to walk away, ‘I get it. I know someone like that.”’
“Julius Caesar” will continue playing March 7-17 in the LBCC Auditorium at the LAC. Shows begin at 8 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
The cost of admission for students, employees, and senior citizens are $10 and $15 for general admission. Free parking will be available in the E lot.
For additional information, people may call (562) 938-4659 or visit tdf.lbcc.edu.