EMAV Review: Gender disappears in NCT's explosive, all-female 'Julius Caesar' ★★★★½

Updated: Mar 18, 2019

★★★★½ - Delicious

There's nary a fault in the stars nor a more fitting time for Nevada Conservatory Theatre's all-female ensemble presentation of William Shakespeare's 1599 tyrannical tragedy "Julius Caesar," playing now at UNLV's Black Box. As a learning theater, NCT is able to nurture experimentation so that in this case their talented female actors, who may always face a dearth of weighty roles, can cut their teeth playing substantial parts written for men. The risk paid off. With their gripping and explosive version of 'Caesar' the company has achieved "gender fluidity," a concept that in a recent interview guest director Beth Lopes said they hoped to explore.

We know the actors are women. We know they are portraying men. It doesn't matter. The pronouns stay the same but we hardly notice once the production hits its stride. There is an adjustment period at first, as we settle into the rhythm of Shakespeare's verse at the beginning of the show. But isn't there always a settling in with the Bard? The brilliant text then takes over and the performers are simply human beings being human, flaws and all.

The illusion of gender fluidity does get challenged here and there, especially when the two female characters Portia and Calpurnia appear and the notion of sexuality comes into play. And as timely and timeless as the politically charged story may be, it's a credit to Lopes an