Performance Picks

Julius Caesar retold in the '50s, and Martha Graham revived at Cornish.

Dance This

Seattle Theater Group is reaching everywhere for the components of their annual youth dance showcase, from the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom and the history of modern American dance to current street dance and ethnic traditions. Ballroom's Vanessa Villalobos and Paul Harrison bring their students to perform a set alongside Cornish Dance Theater in their revival of Martha Graham's Diversion of Angels, next to hip hop staged by Daniel Cruz of Cruz Control, new contemporary work by Sonia Dawkins, an African set staged by Lora Chiorah-Dye demonstrating the connections between traditional styles and step-dancing, and a fusion of Samoan dance and hip hop. Just thinking about all the connections can make you dizzy. (Pictured: Mwasukuta Dance Group.) Paramount Theater, 911 Pine St., 206-292-ARTS, www.theparamount.com. $12-$20. 7:30 p.m. Sat. July 8. SANDRA KURTZ

Julius Caesar

Perhaps the most striking aspect of this production of Shakespeares Julius Caesar, directed by Sean P. Begley with Dan Niven in the title role, is that Brutus is played by a woman, the fine actor Cynthia Whalen. Another is that the plays action is transported to the United States circa 1950, when the second great push of a consumer capitalist economy (the first being the early 1900s) lavished unprecedented purchasing power upon the middle classes (though it probably didnt do bunkum for the lower classes). This transportation takes place predominantly through the use of suits and ties for the actors and by the soundtrack, a sort of continuous, staticky cycle of Casey Kasem 50s hits like Teddy Bear. Also, the public addresses of Mark Antony (played by Lantz Wagner) and Brutus are conducted much like televised press conferences. Despite the modern setting, the instrument of choice for murder remains the dagger, and not, say, a .38 pistol. (As an aside: during one of the plays most famous scenesthe assassination of Caesar by the senatorsMr. Nivens spectacles fell askew his face, and proceeded to dangle from one of his ears, so that when he delivers his famous line, Et tu, Brute, it was funny because, when you think about it, without his glasses he wouldnt be able to see Brutus. Of course, such a thing could be prevented in subsequent performances were Mr. Niven to employ one of those elastic bands such as basketball players in the 70s used to wear to hold their spectacles onto their heads during playathletic bands, I believe theyre called. Should you choose to attend this production, Im sure the crew will have solved this problem, either by use of an athletic band, or by making sure Mr. Nivens glasses fly completely off his face. Contacts would work, too.) Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse, 7312 W. Greenlake Dr. N., 206-524-1300, www.seattlepublictheater.org. $10-$15. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m.

Sun. Ends Sun. July 9. RICHARD MORIN

 
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