Indiana State University Newsroom

‘Julius Caesar’ adaptation set for April 26-30

April 11, 2017

Indiana State University's theater department will conclude its spring production season with a full cast of women performing in "J. Caesar."

Written by Tracey Power with James MacDonald, "J. Caesar" is based on William Shakespeare's tragedy and includes a 14-member, all-female cast who catapult the audience into the year 2416 and a post-apocalyptic world where men are not seen.

"We speculate that it is about 300 to 350 years after the apocalypse and there was some kind of viral thing that killed off most of the men. So the world is being run by these women who are struggling to make sense of this world they are left in and pull themselves into a society that functions," said Julie Dixon, associate professor of theater and the play's director.

The women are forced to protect themselves from threats to their home. They are all good warriors, and Julia Caesar is the best fighter of them all, but that comes with an ego.

"I picked this play because we have a lot of really talented women in the department who don't get the breaks that they deserve," Dixon said. "Most plays are written about men and the male experience, and the women in the play support their experience. I wanted a show that showcased women and gave these amazingly gifted women an equal chance to develop their talent."

In this adaption, the male characters in the play have been transformed into female characters, and the women also have to train with another theater faculty member to learn how to do the combat choreography.

"We start each rehearsal with 10 pushups and learn safe ways to simulate fighting: throwing punches and falling. Eventually we will learn the actual fight choreography and using weapons," Dixon said. "It is intense training three days a week for 90 minutes, and it's physical and exhausting. I hope all of the physical combat work in this play inspires these women after the play is over to realize they are badass in their own way."

It's a lesson senior theater major Kennedy Lake of Bloomington, Ind., is learning as she plays Antonia. The play's version of Mark Antony, Antonia is Caesar's second-in-command, who is devoted and loyal to Caesar in a world where others are not.

"I'm not driven by vengeance like my character. I am a softer spoken, quiet and shy person, but it's fun to be able to play a character who is so opposite of me because you can make strong comparisons with other people you've met and draw from your experiences," Lake said.Antonia is the polar opposite of Jo Reger's character, Cassius.

"It's really important that female-centric shows like this are seen in theaters," said Reger, a sophomore theater major from Louisville, Ky. "My character is one of the main ones against Caesar because she doesn't treat my character well, so I want to do something about her ego and how she is so power hungry. She's a manipulative character who tries to get people on her side, which is not me."

But it's worth the time and effort to learn the part and be a part of a play that highlights the best of female acting on Indiana State's campus.

"I hope the audience realizes that great stories can be about and revolve around women," Lake said. "A lot of the great Shakespearean plays that are named after characters - they'll all male characters, so I hope we show women in the audience that they can play a strong character in a politically charged situation and be warriors, instead of the women who sit at home and talk about their husbands being warriors."

Dixon selected the play more than a year ago and said she admires the characters who, right or wrong, are trying to take their fate in their hands, instead of letting things happen.

"They want to make the universe reflect what they believe is right and they're willing to lay it all on the line, although it all turns horribly awful in the end," she said.

"J. Caesar" will run in New Theater at 7:30 p.m. April 26-29 and at 4 p.m. on April 30.

Tickets are $10 for general admission. Rush tickets (free) are offered to students 90 minutes before the show.

Reservations are not accepted. All tickets must be paid for when requested. Box office hours are 12-4:30 p.m. Monday and one hour before the performances.

Photo: - "J. Caesar" will be performed at Indiana State University's New Theater at 7:30 p.m. April 26-29 and at 4 p.m. on April 30.

Contact: Julie Dixon, associate professor of theater, Department of Theater, Indiana State University,

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or