I've been sitting on this particular piece of news for a couple weeks, but the official announcement went out today. My original Caesar/Brutus play, EVE OF IDES, has been chosen for a reading at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey this September, as part of their Lend Us Your Ears play reading series. The reading will be directed by the amazing and talented Rick Sordelet.
For those who don't know theatre, a public reading is the first step to getting a play produced. The actors are rehearsed and familiar with the script, and the director has taken them through their paces a few times to get the play sounding just right. Add some art and occasionally some sound, and the audience gets to experience the show in its rawest form.
The show itself is a four-person cast, with heavy focus on Caesar and Brutus. As I've mentioned before, the thing that drives me crazy about Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR is the lack of interaction between Caesar and Brutus. It's the most important relationship in the play, and these two men barely exchange a dozen lines - and half of those come from Caesar's ghost.
The first act of EVE OF IDES takes place the night before the Ides of March - literally, the eve of the Ides. Caesar and Brutus are both at a dinner party, and together they debate politics, family, history, and the future as Brutus grapples with the question, "Do I have to kill him?"
The second act is something alluded to in Shakespeare's play, but never staged - the second appearance of Caesar's ghost. It's the night before the battle of Phillipi, and Caesar's spirit returns to confront Brutus.
I'm honored that the first reading will be at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, a venerable yet vibrant national voice on the Shakespearean scene. And I'm over the moon for Rick's involvement. He's a tremendous artist and just as good a friend, and the fact that he's as excited as he is by this project tells me there's something to it. I can't wait to work with him in the build-up, polishing the script and then hearing what he does with it.
More as I have it. The first announcement is casually included here, as they update their 2011 season.
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2011 - Due to a scheduling conflict on the part of one of the fantastic people involved, the reading is being postponed until early next year. Naturally, I am sad not to be headed to NJ this autumn, but I agree with the theatre's decision that we want all the best people for the reading. I'll be back as soon as we have a firm date for the rescheduled reading.