Monday, 15 October 2012 01:54

Shakespeare would be Proud of this Unique “Julius Caesar” Production!

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pic 002 erica peeples daniel ball jake suffian and cynthia.jpg - 244.57 Kb

The Griot Theatre of the West Valley has launched their first production and they should be very proud of it. It’s very easy to go ‘wrong’ with Shakespeare. This amazing cast does an impressive job of delivering a classic with performance perfection!

Producer/Director Malik B. El-Amin took the story and characters in a bold and unique direction making the staging and story come to full form in each of these actors. Taking some broad liberties with the original text and changing some of the characters gender, Malik’s version of “Julius Caesar” is very different and very entertaining.

Catching my eye, attention and literally mesmorising me with her performance was Cynthia Beckert as Cassius.  Cynthia was dynamic, powerful and extremely passionate in her conviction of this woman’s dilemmas with the King and County. Watching her expressions and passions was pure energy and excitement for me.

Jake Suffian plays Brutus with a severe conviction that makes you focus onto his words and feel the confusion and personal agenda conflicting with his beliefs. Jake and Cynthia together on stage became an ‘electric’ experience to watch when they fought and when they kissed.

pic 001 antonio d. charity jake suffian  inset daniel ball.jpg - 299.15 Kb

Now the part of Mark Antony was honestly and powerfully played by Daniel Ball. His enlightened and honest performance made the rivalry of the parties in the senate really believable and his passionate exchanges with Jake were extremely powerful and sincere to his character.

Loud and proud was the performance of Antonio D. Charity as the infamous leader Julius Caesar himself. He was big, strong and bold in his performance. The character of Casca the senator was colorfully played by Vincent J. Isaac. His unique performance was enticing with subtle humor and great expressions. Vincent also played two other roles.

Also, there were some standout performances by Erica Mathlin as Portia, Brutus’ wife who gave a passionate speech to her husband and their distant relationship. Erica Peeples gives a commanding delivery as Octavia, another leader of men in pursuit of her beliefs. Both Ericas play multiple roles with equal conviction and charm.

The Griot Theatre of the West Valley is a full-fledged theatre that also serves to provide theatrical entertainment to everyone, including those theatre goers that are hearing impaired. The stage is clever and utilitarian which gives a ‘Game of Thrones’ feeling. The set was designed by Kis Knekt. Keeping in line with the ‘Thrones’ feel was the clever and colorful costuming by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg. Notably the insertion of again ‘Throne-like’ music as a mood underscore added to the experience.

It was a wonderful production filled with amazing talent. I look forward to The Griot Theatre’s future productions. Check them out:

Pic 1 Erica Peeples, Daniel Ball, Jake Suffian and Cynthia Beckert
Pic 2 Antonio D. Charity, Jake Suffian, INSET: Daniel Ball, Cynthia Beckert and Vincent J. Isaac

Read 5570 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 13:39
Lorenzo Marchessi

Based in Southern California, not far from Downtown Hollywood - Lorenzo Marchessi. has always enjoyed movies, music and theatre first hand. Currently living in the San Fernando Valley Area called the ‘No Ho Arts District properly’ (Originally from Chicago!) – More than fond of Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Dramas, Animation, Independent Films and of course Comedies. I like the short film and the long film (as long as their good!) I saw my first film at the age of six - HELLO DOLLY and I saw LOGAN'S RUN ten times in the theatre! Having actually worked in the production of Film, TV, Radio and live Theatre I can always understand the work that goes into creating ANY Movie, Television Show, Theatre Production, DVD, CD's and even Live Concerts. I love to write and been doing it for decades - literally! I always appreciate any feedback or comments! P.S. My all-time favorite film is ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE along with THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE DESCENDANTS, my favorite TV series of all-time is STAR TREK as well as FRINGE and THE BIG BANG THEORY, my favorite performing artist of all-time is BARRY MANILOW, my favorite actor of all time MR. JACK LEMON and my favorite theatrical productions to date is WICKED and THE PRODUCERS. Contact: Lorenzo M. at !

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