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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (TFANA)

From 52 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Ambitious, Intense

About the show

Director Shana Cooper staged this production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2017. Now, in her Off-Broadway debut, Cooper reimagines her earlier incarnation of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy for TFANA. More…

As Julius Caesar's power grows, the fearful Senate demands he give up his forces and civil war erupts. Cooper's staging explores what happens when violence is used to govern, and theatricalizes a mythic cycle that combines the political, psychological, and phantasmagorical.

Member Reviews (52)


Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Ambitious, Intense
Avg Score

Dark, Accessible, Relevant, Great choreography, Ferocious

See it if I'm not a Shakespeare lover, but I enjoyed this intense production. Great movement & sound in the crowd & battle scenes. Easy to follow.

Don't see it if More sensational than emotionally moving. Dark w/ little humor. Poetic but detached perspective on characters with different flaws & agendas

Masculine, Lean, Uneven, Swift, Dynamic

See it if you’d like to see a “Julius Caesar” that is both a compelling staging of the havoc of battle & a critique of militarism.

Don't see it if you like “Julius Caesar” mostly for its thrilling oratory: here many major speeches pass without distinction.

Also There’s more than 1 way to stage “Julius Caesar.” In TFANA’s current p... Read more Read less

Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you like Shakespeare well-spoken, with little gimmickry except lots of testosterone, dynamic movement, & sharp visual images & casual dress

Don't see it if Julius Caesar & the history plays are not your favorites, don't like emphasis on ritualized battles or play not set in a specific time

Bar-raising, Exquisite, Great direction, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you want your high expectations met. Superlative cast. Gritty, red-blooded, heart-racing. If looking for the best WS around, don’t miss.

Don't see it if you‘re certain the definitive Julius Caesar requires togas & English accents, or you already know you don’t like this play.

Also Extend this. Every role—major & minor—shines. I don’t usually recommen... Read more Read less

Riveting, Intense, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if like Shakespeare & history plays, can appreciate the words and acting despite strange staging, don't want the play directly related to today

Don't see it if set looks like a building under construction & some of the costumes in crowd scenes could detract - masks & dreads; lots of plastic buckets*

Also * Nothing seems to add to the story. But the actors speak the lines ve... Read more Read less

Intense, Riveting, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A masterful production of Julius Caesar. Excellent staging and choreography brings this production to life.

Don't see it if Do you not see if you do not like Shakespeare or a play over 2 1/2 hours which requires intense listening.

Edgy, Entertaining, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if Fan of Shakespeare, classical or modern. An intriguing approach...choreographed segments are especially intruiging.

Don't see it if Looking for a traditional production,

Intense, Quirky, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if it's a good production of a difficult play; some of the actors are excellent; the staging is creative w/o being radical.

Don't see it if you don't like shakespeare, or you don't like him in modern dress. Some of the acting is weak. The stylized fighting can wear thin.

Ambitious, Profound, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if I scored it the highest # for "good" because it's not "great." I had a vg/ time. It's a "great" play & Brandon J. Dirden was memorable as

Don't see it if Marcus Brutus. Excessive use of chest pounding and calisthenics by whole company & a # of actors not well cast. Plus for Will S. in B'klyn.

Resonant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like Shakespeare and Julius Caesar. Duh. It's a worthy production. It doesn't hit you over the head with political resonance.

Don't see it if you're expecting a traditional Shakespeare. Or even one that makes sense in time and place. But the actors are good and it's clear and smart

Resonant, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You like very good modern dress Julius Cæsar productions with minimalist staging. There's some clever no contact depiction of the fights.

Don't see it if You dislike the play, Shakespeare, or the guy we named July after.

Resonant, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want an engaging presentation of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. I am not usually a huge fan of Caesar and was fully engaged.

Don't see it if you are looking for a classic or period presentation or have trouble sitting for long performances

Refreshing, Great staging

See it if thankful that this wasn't about donald trump for a change. appreciated the risks taken. some really beautiful staging.

Don't see it if the ny times said the fight choreo was like a bad zumba class. ouch. i disagree. but it was still kind of boring.

Relevant, Riveting, Must see, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see Shakespeare performed in a compelling and profound production. Terrific staging and acting and the choreography is amazing.

Don't see it if If you want only traditional Shakespeare without any revisions.

Also I have to admit I am not a fan of Julius Caesar. But this show changed... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Refreshing, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if you like your Shakespeare full of blood and energy and physical dynamism.

Don't see it if you have a narrow idea of what Shakespeare "should" be, you dislike textual liberties, and shows that physically relay information

Also It has you from the start. It's visually stunning. It's physically agg... Read more Read less

Insightful, Epic, Entertaining, Bold, Muscular

See it if physical theater thrills you. It's an athletic production w/ especially strong performances by Brandon J. Dirden & Stephen Michael Spencer.

Don't see it if you're not up for a long evening: The show runs over two and a half hours. (Then again, there are matinees.)

Also Memorable quote: "Let’s carve him as a dish fit for the gods."

Intelligent, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to like Julius Caesar and haven’t previously in the past. And want to see how choreography can save a usually slow second act

Don't see it if You only like classic plays done in classic forms. Don’t like violence.

Also As others, I really liked the staging and the choreography. But I felt... Read more Read less

Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Probably the best Julius Caesar I have seen

Don't see it if you know what happens

Ambitious, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if If youre a fan of julius caesar and some interesting staging and choreography.

Don't see it if If you dont like the play julius caesar and are not ready to sit for three hours.

Riveting, Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like fresh takes on The Bard that are still respectful of the material and use their alternate view to delve deeper into universal theme

Don't see it if You like only period performance of Shakespeare, you don't like Shakespeare

Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if U want A straightforward version of play with an ensemble of actors who perform with a visceral energy that is RARE. They r a MUST SEE.

Don't see it if u do not like Shakespeare...BUT before u decide read "more to say below"

Also Even if you don’t like Shakespeare... choreography, fight sequences, c... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Intense, Epic, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if A tough visceral take on Julius Caesar. A smart & thrilling production. Vivid & engaging.

Don't see it if If movement theatre driven Shakespeare is not your cuppa tea, this may not be for you

Uneven, Overwrought, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you'd like to see a fast-paced, high-energy production of this classic, even though some actors and moments miss the mark.

Don't see it if you'll be bothered by a production that starts with the energy levels at a ten and never really budges from there.

Also Brandon J. Dirden as Brutus and Jordan Barbour as Antony both strike t... Read more Read less

Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want a fresh, modern look at an old story.

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare and/or modern adaptations of Shakespeare.

Not a false step, Excellent sound design, New ways to depict violence, Dynamic, Outstanding lead actors

See it if you're ready to see the classic struggle once again, with stylized violence to add interest to the static quality of the second act.

Don't see it if you don't share Shakespeare's concerns about how free people can govern themselves.

Also There are some traditional depictions of violence, such as Mark Antony... Read more Read less

March 28th, 2019
"Shana Cooper’s revival — busy and butch — is so deep in conversation with itself and its dance battles that it nearly forgets to speak to us today...She seems more interested in moving bodies around rather than showing us what the minds inside those bodies might be thinking. Once in a while her ...
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March 29th, 2019
"The stage is full of visual ideas, the kind you can tell meant something specific to the people brainstorming but that haven’t made the jump...for all the energetic efforts of its actors, the production never gathers its power...This is the kind of well-intentioned aesthetic mishmash that ironic...
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March 28th, 2019
"Cooper's urgent and worthy interpretation reminds one of just how much this play in particular gains from a fairly straightforward approach - straightforward, that is, except for its bruising physicality...The fact that Cooper manages to imply topical parallels without overwhelming the play's en...
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March 29th, 2019
“You can see the outlines of a vision that seems all too relevant to today's America...The power of this Julius Caesar is only a sometime thing, thanks to an uneven cast whose members have apparently not yet settled on a unified acting style...Everyone is so jaw-grindingly intense as to be fatigu...
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