St. Ann's temporary theater on Jay Street has been transformed into a correctional facility: the audience waits outside, let as large groups into a long white antechamber where ushers dressed as guards issue rules and regulations; signs on the walls warn of CCTVs in use and inform you there's no cellphone use. (This is a modern production; the Ides warning comes from a trashy magazine.) Finally, a large steel gate is rolled up, revealing the theater. There's no late seating; once that gate comes back down, the audience is locked in, just like the characters.
Those characters are prisoners putting on Caesar for their own enjoyment, like a game, a play as play. But it also leads to some tension, as when Brutus (Harriet Walter, anguish flooding from her eyes, angst from her tightened body) screamed at some women giggling behind a curtain to "shut the fuck up!" Or during the murder of Cinna the Poet, which seemed to spill into real violence: blood dribbling from Cinna's nose, a screaming match between actors broken up by another. These moments seemed spontaneous, but I believe they were intentional, demonstrating that the characters are as raw, rowdy and rancorous as the characters they play.
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