Shakespeare recently paid a visit – in spirit, at least – to the semimonthly Culture Jam, sponsored by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation.
Some 16 people – many of them familiar from local productions – got into the act, so to speak, and read Julius Caesar.
The bard would be proud, as the first-time effort was deemed a success.
“Quite apart from bringing together a group of multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people willing to read Shakespeare,” says Henry Muttoo, director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, “the evening afforded CNCF an opportunity to take note of readers with theatre potential we can invite to audition for future productions.”
The choice of reading was not intimidating – everyone seemed to enjoy the low-key setting of the small Studio Theatre setting where they could unwind and feel at ease.
As for the choice of plays, Muttoo has a thoughtful explanation:
“Even for a Caribbean person who is unashamedly biased regarding our great artists – among whom are two Nobel laureates in literature – Shakespeare remains the finest playwright who ever wrote in the English language.
“His tremendous body of work is the most produced, not only in his native country … but in every country in the world. The themes in his plays cover the full spectrum of human behaviour. Today, 400 years after his death, he is still relevant and will continue to be so.”
Muttoo says he’s considering holding other informal play readings, which “would allow us at least to discover the dramatic literature of the Cayman islands and the world and, perhaps, lead some to try their hand at writing.”
Those who brought Julius Caesar alive on the evening were: Muttoo, Rita Estevanovich, Gabrielle Wheaton, Fritz McPherson, Ben Maxwell, Ron Bowen, Alisa Bowen, Rory Mann, Neal Rooney, Sarah Trotter, Ben Fisher, Sheree Ebanks, Melanie Ebanks, Michael McLaughlin, Oscar DaCosta and Maia Muttoo.
On a related note, playwright Alisa Bowen said she will be directing another Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the Cayman Drama Society this fall at the Prospect Theatre.
It will be a children’s adaptation, she says, for ages 6-17. Auditions will be announced soon.
About Culture Jam
An informal gathering, Culture Jam is held on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 5.30-7.30pm. Admission is free. The next event is a Dance Lab for everyone on 12 August.