As you find your seat at BAM’s recent production and U.S. premiere of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar, a group of black actors cavort on stage, laughing and joking, casually passing the day in what appears to be a West African market place, immediately distinguishing this production of Julius Caesar from the Shakespeare you might remember from your 8th grade reading list.
Certainly less romantic, and probably for that reason less popular than say Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar has nonetheless surfaced in the past year in a modern day prison in the Triviani brothers’ film Caesar Must Die, in an all-female production staged at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and now in an all-black production by Gregory Doran, using the political upheaval that has plagued modern day Africa as its backdrop.
Doran’s interpretation takes this classic drama’s transcendent themes – the corrupting influence of personal ambition, the fickle nature of public favor, and the unreliable symbols we pursue in making meaning of the world around us, just to name a few – out of the cool, limestone halls and monuments of ancient Rome, making them work and sweat under the hot, unflinching glare of the African sun.
Continue reading “Brooklyn Academy of Music Stages All-Black ‘Julius Caesar’”
Colin Salmon attends the Royal World Premiere of ‘Skyfall’ at the Royal Albert Hall on October 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images)
Black British actors are taking Hollywood by storm. In recent years more and more have been cast in on-screen roles, not just in big budget U.S. films but also on American television. In fact, nowadays it is highly likely a Brit will be found starring in a major Hollywood movie or hit TV series. Currently, U.S. television boasts several black British actors who are regular cast members in popular shows like Homeland and Game of Thrones.
“I love British actors,” says Brooks Jackson Colyar, a Los Angeles-based agent who represents actors and comedians. “I am fascinated they can take that accent and turn it into everyday American English,” she adds. Black British actor David Oyelowo, 36, is a classic example. Born in the Oxford to Nigerian parents, Oyelowo was best known in the UK for playing an intelligence officer in the television drama series Spooks.
Continue reading “Black British Actors Making Waves in Hollywood”
Tarell Alvin McCraney (“The Brothers Size”) will direct and adapt a new production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” as part of a collaboration among the Public Theater, GableStage in Miami and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Public announced on Monday. The play will have its premiere at the Stratford-Upon-Avon home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where Mr. McCraney is an artistic associate, in November 2013, before being staged in Miami in January 2014 and later that month at the Public.
In addition to directing the production, Mr. McCraney edited the text, reordered the scene structure and relocated the play to “the late 1700s against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French,” according to a news release. Casting will take place in London, New York and Miami, Mr. McCraney’s hometown.
A 2007 graduate of Yale, Mr. McCraney has also written the trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays,” “Wig Out” and other plays, including “Head of Passes,” which will have its premiere in Chicago next year.
The production will be the latest collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and a New York stage. In 2011 the company had a residency at the Park Avenue Armory as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. In March 2013 its production of “Matilda the Musical,” based on the Roald Dahl children’s book and now running in London, is to begin performances on Broadway.
article by Erik Piepenburg via nytimes.com