Shakespeare in the Park - Julius Caesar

[Media Invite]

It never came to my mind that my 12YO would appreciate literature, particularly William Shakespeare's literature. I confess, I personally have not read any of Shakespeare's. But the GEP programme in school has given these pupils some exposure to very good classical literature like Single Shard, Macbeth and Friedrich. Hence, AJ was very receptive to Julius Caesar when I told him, he and his daddy would be watching it in Fort Canning. He even went to the library to borrow Julius Caesar, to read up about it first.

After watching it last week, AJ was eager to pen his view. So what you are going to read is from him:


Hello! My name is AJ. I will be sharing with you about a play I watched on 10 May - Julius Caesar, brought to you by Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT).

This play was originally written by Shakespeare, but was modified by Guy Unsworth, the director, into a more modern setting. In this adaptation, R·O·M·E is an alliance of seven (nameless) countries. Twice a year, the respective head-of-states will meet at ‘The Capitol’ building, an international conference centre. In the play, there are references to laptops, mobile phones, Bluetooth speakers, live news reports, cameras, and many more modern technologies. However, most of the Shakespearean language is preserved.

Photo courtesy of SRT

Julius Caesar is, in this case, a woman, the head of a country she leads. Two characters have a change in gender in this edited Shakespeare play, they were men in the original story but they are women in this play. Apart from Julius Caesar, the other person is Caius Cassius. Other change of roles include: Calpurnia, who was Julius Caesar's wife, has become the Executive P.A. to Caesar. Octavius, who was Caesar's adopted son, has become his nephew.

As Jo Kukathas, who plays Julius Caesar, says: “I think it’s interesting to have Julius Caesar be played by a woman, and as a woman (I’m not going to be acting as a man). Because I think it would bring out another dimension of attitudes towards women who are politicians [such as Angela Merkel, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, Christine Lagarde, Tsai Ing-Wen, Theresa May and Nancy Pelosi] which hasn’t really changed.”

I like that the stage set-up is versatile. If you arrive early, you may be able to step into the stage and have a good look at it. However, you are not allowed to take the steps up to the second level as it may be dangerous. The centre portion is barricaded because the stage will be transformed into a waterfall and a desk. You’ll see why when you watch the play yourselves! Oh, and it can even rain behind the stage! How awesome!

There are also twenty-four LCD screens that change their displays along with the play. For example, in the first scene, somebody “sprays” the word “tyrant” onto the screens using a spray can and words would appear on the screens. Some news reports would also appear on the screens. I'm quite fascinated by these screens.

This show will definitely be a memorable experience for anyone, regardless whether you have little to no prior knowledge about the play by Shakespeare. It is especially interesting for people who know the story to see how Unsworth changes certain portions of the original story to fit today’s context. However, I do not recommend this show to very young children, as there are stabbing scenes which may not be suitable for them. I guess age 10 up would be ready to accept such scenes and enjoy the play. 

Photo courtesy of SRT

Photo courtesy of SRT

This play takes place at Fort Canning Hill. It is a 2-hour play (intermission included), so bring along your picnic mat, food and drinks. I am very sure you are going to enjoy the play as much as I did!


Shakespeare in the Park - Julius Caesar is truly a play not to be missed. Tickets start from $45 and you could book them at SRT website or Sistic. The last day of the play is on 27 May, so hurry!


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