By Julieanne Obregon
Robert Beltran brings William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” to life at the Casa 0101Theater in Boyle Heights.
“Julius Caesar” has forty-four roles that are played by 18 actors whom are mostly Latina/o.
Caesar, played by Vance Valencia, is a highly respected man among the Roman citizens and when he returns victorious from war a plot for his death is put into play.
The play begins when Flavius, played by Ray Rios, and Marullus, played by Uvaldo Baltazar, happen upon citizens that have abandoned their work to celebrate the return of Caesar.
Flavius and Marcus show their disapproval of the citizens actions and proceed to remove any decorations they see on statues of Caesar.
On his way to the arena, a stranger comes to Caesar to warn him to be cautious of the fifteenth of March.
Caesar quickly dismisses the stranger and proceeds to the arena with his entourage.
As Caesar leaves, Cassius, played by Fidel Gomez, and Brutus, played by Rachel Gomez, stay behind.
Together Fidel Gomez and Rachel Gomez brought their characters to life and created a memorable act.
Cassius is filled with jealousy over Caesar’s power and tries to convince Brutus that he would be a better ruler.
When they hear shouts coming from the distance, Brutus shares his fears of the possibility that Caesar will become king.
After the games have finished Cassius and Brutus are told by Casca, played by Danny Mora, that Caesar was offered the crown by Antony, played by Lauren Ballesteros, and he refused it three times.
Fearing the possibility that Caesar would change if he chooses to be crowned, Brutus agrees to go along with Cassius’s plan.
Even though there were a few stumbles in lines, the actors and actresses worked well together and made the play memorable.
Performances by Ballesteros, playing the role of Antony, and Rachel Gomez, prove that women can effectively play the role of men without taking away from the quality of the story.
The use of lighting was effective, bringing more drama to the climatic scenes.
The play was well executed and is worth watching.
Four ELAC students were given the opportunity to be a part of the production.
Evan Garcia, plays several roles; Titinius, Lucillius, Antony’s Servant, Publius, Cobbler and Third Citizen; Karlo Ishibashi plays Octavius; Mario Valdez, plays Trebonius, Lepidus and Citizen; and Peter Mendoza, was the fight choreographer.
The play is two hours and thirty minutes long with a 10 minute intermission.
“Julius Caesar” will have performances at the Casa 0101 Theater on Fridays and Sundays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 5 p.m. from now until Nov. 16 with no performance on Sunday, Nov. 9.
This is the first time the Shakespeare tragedy has been played in the Casa 0101 Theater’s main stage and is part of Encuentro 2014, A National Latina/o Theatre Festival.
For more information visit casa0101.org.