Meanwhile, the senators who conspire to assassinate Caesar wear the traditional African robes that resemble togas. And the hoi polloi are appeased not with bread and circuses but with drink and lively Afro-pop music, performed by a terrific seven-member band that is playing as theatergoers take their seats and remains onstage to underscore the action throughout the show.
And yet none of that matters. The intense commitment of the actors, the supple lighting and striking set, dominated by a giant statue of Caesar, get the message across loud and clear: there are few heroes in politics.
The play’s main characters—Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Mark Antony—are all motivated, like so many political leaders, by both fear and opportunism. Its familiar lines (“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings,” “Cry ‘Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,” “The evil that men do lives after then; the good is oft interred with their bones.”) resound like dispatches from today's conflict zones.