Shakespeare classic rebooted

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Through the years, the question of right from wrong and the constant balance of actions taken always bring a conflict within society. This study of characters and human behavior will once again rise onstage, as one of the most renowned historical tragedies of all time, Julius Caesar, by England’s national poet William Shakespeare, takes on a modern reimagination.

Alyas July, the contemporary adaptation based on National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera’s Filipino translation of The Bard’s masterpiece, will be presented by Dulaang Filipino

Alyas July, the contemporary adaptation based on National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera’s Filipino translation of The Bard’s masterpiece, will be presented by Dulaang Filipino, the resident theater group of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, from 26 to 28 November at the Black Box Theater.

Written by Carlos Palanca Memorial award-winning playwright Eljay Castro Deldoc and directed by Riki Benedicto, Alyas July shares the story of the theater group Klasiko Entablado, just some hours before the critic’s night of their play Julio Cesar. July, who left the production during the early parts of the rehearsals, is once again invited by the assistant director to portray the main character. This causes conflicts between some of its members, particularly Turbo and Asyong, who believe that the actor is full of himself. While everyone’s busy with the final touches of the play, Turbo and Asyong, through an evil pursuit, are determined to dispose of the main actor. With flickering lights and ill-fitted costumes, will the drama still be a success?

Benedicto wishes that the audience is still familiar with the original story, though the adaptation focuses on a different approach on Shakespeare’s piece. “I just hope that watching this version would elicit interest not just for Shakespeare, but classic literature in general.”

Both the director and the playwright veered away from the prevalent political approach of plays which reflects the current situation of the country. “I don’t want my stage to be a propaganda platform. I want to present a literary piece focusing on the behavior of the characters,” Benedicto noted. “Why are we doing the things we are doing? We keep on looking for someone to blame to justify our unjust actions.”

Alyas July will premiere on 26 November at 7 p.m. The show will then have Tuesday and Wednesday screenings on 27 and 28 November at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are priced at P150. For ticket reservations, call +63 230- 5100 local 1528 or 1603 or contact culture.arts@benilde.edu.ph. The Black Box Theater is located at sixth floor of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts Campus, 950 Pablo Ocampo (Vito Cruz) Street, Malate, Manila.

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