All hail Caesar as play goes on stage

November 20, 2023 BY

For Rome: Ballarat National Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Caesar opens in Brown Hill in a week’s time. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE historic political story of Julius Caesar is coming to Brown Hill Public Hall.

A cast of 15 Ballarat National Theatre actors are set to perform the Shakespearean play, Caesar, from later this month, which follows the man, and the fallout, as he aims to become a dictator for life.

Shannon Nicholls is making his directorial debut with this production which looks at the last days of the Roman republic before it became an empire.

“I really appreciate that there’s a not a clear good guy-bad guy dichotomy,” he said.

“These Romans are all flawed, selfish, and manipulative. Even Brutus is honourable to a fault… but they all love Rome and can be seen to be doing what they think is best.

“It’s a really great show for an ensemble and very much a political story, with a core part of it being about the fickleness of public opinion… but it doesn’t come across as dry.”

Nicholls said he has enjoyed stepping back from acting and taking on a new responsibility as director, encouraging newer performers to take risks and try new things in rehearsals.

“The ensemble nature of the show means that less experienced actors and those who’ve done a lot before can learn from each other,” he said.

“It’s not a big cast, but they’ve done a really great job of creating a crowd energy, without having a lot of bodies in the space.

“The cast have been so generous and kind to one another, and me, making offers and being very open to things that might be a bit different, like interacting with the audience in new ways.

“It’s been really gratifying watching that happen.”

Nicholls said the hall is an intimate performance space, and audiences will have an immersive theatre experience, with the actors not just in front of them, but around them.

The cast will stage nine shows between Saturday 25 November and Sunday 3 December, with Saturday matinee shows more suited to audience members with sensory needs.

Visit hermaj.com or call 5333 5888 for tickets.