Explosive, modern take on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar coming this fall

The SUNY New Paltz Department of Theatre Arts will present Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Nov. 12-15 and Nov. 19-22 in McKenna Theatre. The play is directed by Lauren Bone Noble, adjunct lecturer of Theatre Arts.

This familiar play has been adapted with a new, present-day setting in an elite all-girls boarding school. Julius Caesar, a beautiful and popular girl from a wealthy family, has been selected as the ‘face’ of Rome Preparatory Academy. She will become the president of the student council and preside as Homecoming Queen. Although she is well-liked, Caesar’s sense of entitlement and hubris are resented by other students. Certain among them devise a murderous plot and attempt to convince their fellow students that Caesar is dangerous to the reputation and well-being of the school. Their plan succeeds at first, but ends in tragedy when the entire school turns against them, and they are forced to reckon with the consequences of their terrible choices.

Julius Caesar
Top row, from left: Ciarra Fragale ’18, Iris Fine ’15, Jessica Lyke ’17, Lia-Shea Tillet ’16; Bottom row, from left: Emily DeMaio ’18, Theresa Flynn ’16, Annalise Rios ’16

This re-imaging of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar asks the audience to consider the immediacy of violence in contemporary life. “By eliminating the safe distance of history and putting the weapons in the hands of young people, we examine our own complicity in the violent world in which we live,” Bone Noble said. “Violence didn’t happen ‘long ago’ or ‘over there’. It is here. It is now. It is us.”

The production explores these ideas while maintaining the beautiful poetry of Shakespeare’s verse. “The goal is to engage the audience from the opening moments with characters and places that they recognize, all the while speaking Shakespeare’s exquisite and timeless language,” said Bone Noble.

Performance dates and times for Julius Caesar are Nov. 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8:00 p.m., with Sunday afternoon performances Nov. 15 & 22 at 2:00 p.m. All performances will take place in McKenna Theatre.

Tickets are $18 general reserve; $16 senior (62+), New Paltz faculty and staff and non-New Paltz students; and $10 for SUNY New Paltz students. The McKenna Theatre Box Office will be open beginning Nov. 2, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online at http://www.newpaltz.edu/theatre. For additional information call (845) 257-3880.

The English Department will be hosting a pre-show panel titled “Why Julius Caesar? Why now?” on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in McKenna Theatre, moderated by Associate Professor Tom Olsen. Admission is free.

About the Director

Lauren Bone Noble has worked as an actor both on and off Broadway, in regional theatres throughout the United States and internationally at Vienna’s English Theatre. She has appeared on television and in over 30 national network commercials and is a member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA. Bone Noble received her MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory under the guidance of Royal Shakespeare Company member Tony Church, and holds a BFA from the University of Memphis.