The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

“Julius Caesar” Shines in Gender-Swapped Ode to Dark Academia

Hadley Blodgett

While many students were looking forward to Friday, March 15 to herald in St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, I was excitedly waiting for The Ides of March. Beyond the “Et tu, Brute” jokes I was going to be able to make, I planned to see the Robinson Players’ production of “Julius Caesar,” for what better day to attend? 

Directed by Sydney Childs ‘24, this reimagining of Shakespeare’s historical tragedy is set in a private school; it exists somewhere in between the eloquence and uniforms of “Dead Poets Society” and the gossip and intrigue of “Mean Girls” or “Heathers.” Many of the technical decisions support a very strong sense of setting in this retelling; special recognition goes to Paige Magid ‘24 and AJ Matos ‘26 for costuming what was all too reminiscent of my experiences with high school dress codes.

I found the physical setting of the performance to be quite effective as well. As opposed to a normal theater space on campus, the group decided to use the upper floors of Muskie Archives, which perfectly suits the vibe of ritzy academia and realistically situates the audience in the backdrop of the show. This clever and effective use of the space truly amazed me, especially the use of the lighting in the Archive that I wasn’t even aware was present.

Hadley Blodgett

Another brilliant choice made by Childs was the gender-bent casting of the play. Switching the genders of many of the roles invited a wide variety of new choices for actors to explore the depths of their characters and their relation to each other. Having the trio of political competitors, Caesar, Brutus, and Mark Antony, all being played by women (Jackie Coraci ‘26, Ruby Marden ‘27, and Quinn Simmons ‘24, respectively) introduced some really fun and unique new dynamics to many of the scenes. Each of the three talented actors bounced between the campy humor of a teen drama to the emotional tragedy of the text on a dime, which enlivened the show in a refreshing light.

The setting of this school was a character itself, as I found myself getting way too involved with speculating the relationships between various characters. At one point, I had wondered if the conspirator Decius (played by Lukas Schneider ‘24) had some unreciprocated affection for his co-conspirator Cassius (played by David Walker ‘24). 

In classic Rob Players fashion, I could tangibly feel the chemistry between all the cast members. I can certainly tell the cast and crew both had a blast in producing this show. The set’s centerpiece is a chalkboard, and I had far too much fun analyzing every inside joke and reference on it. 

Another great feat that I feel goes unnoticed most of the time is the cutting of the script. Trimming Shakespeare down into an eighty-minute show is no small task, and fortunately one I feel the Rob Players conquered. I felt as though each cast member had their moments, ranging from funny to powerful. Even when a character didn’t have lines in a scene, I could see how the ensemble established the power dynamics of the main characters subliminally. 

Overall, I could tell that the Rob Players were as excited as I was for The Ides of March since they absolutely crushed the opening performance of “Julius Caesar.” Fair to say, they “served a dish fit for the gods!” 

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About the Contributor
Max Olson
Max Olson, Staff Writer
Max is a Junior from Beverly MA. He is a double major in English and Philosophy. In his free time, you can find Max around the table with his friends at the Discordians Board Game Club or accruing overdraft fees of movies at the library.
Max has been writing for The Student since freshman year, covering primarily Arts and Leisure. He is also an officer of the Students with Disabilities Club and a frequent of the Bates Robinson Players.

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