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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

Critical Praise for Richmond's Latest Folger Production

Associate Professor Robert Richmond is once again garnering great reviews for his latest production at Washington, DC’s venerable Folger Shakespeare Theatre. Shakepeare’s "Julius Caesar," directed by Richmond, opened October 28th and runs through December 7th, 2014.

Robert Richmond
Associate Professor Robert Richmond

Richmond has had a string of directorial successes at The Folger, including productions of Shakespeare’s Richard III (2014), Twelfth Night (2013), and Henry V (2013), which became the best-selling play in the theatre’s history.  His 2010 production of Henry VIII was nominated for a record ten Helen Hayes Awards.

Critics have praised Richmond's Julius Caesar for its impactful storytelling and its haunting atmosphere.  Here’s just a sampling of the critical praise:

“JULIUS CAESAR is visually stunning, a feast for the ears, and boasts a commanding ensemble…This is a production not to miss.” —

“Richmond doesn’t waste any motion or clutter the action with moving set pieces or even props, other than knives. With an almost mournful, ritual sense, he spotlights each thought and argument. As a result, all of the performances are extremely clear and direct.” — The Washington Post

“There is nothing static, stagnant or limp about Director Richmond’s take on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Let’s hope that younger audiences less seeped in theater and history can and will find their way to the production.” — DC Metro Theater Arts

“It may be all-too familiar, but under the innovative direction of Robert Richmond, this “Julius Caesar” is provocative and memorable.” — Washington Life Magazine

Shakespeare’s political tragedy details the events leading up to the assassination of the Roman Emperor Caesar and the resulting civil war.  Richmond told The Washington Post that he found inspiration for his take on the play by visiting memorials to those who have fallen for their country, both here and in England.  He revealed that he actually took time to read the play again in Arlington National Cemetery, “surrounded by those who died for liberty and the people who mourn them.”

He explained, “I felt this play could speak to the ongoing cost of war.  It’s a statement about war and the need of human nature to have war.  I wanted to bring out all that is lost.”  

Continuing their decade long professional collaboration, USC Professor Jim Hunter joined Robert as lighting designer for Julius Caesar.   Hunter, a member of the elite national theatrical designer’s union, United Scenic Artists Local 829,  focused on supporting Richmond’s supernatural take on the story.  

"Jim Hunter’s lighting design…..cites as sources of imagery such phrases as forbidding omen, violently providential storms, and bloody realistic assassination. The results are alternatively lovely and shocking.” - DC Metro Theatre Arts

"[The performances were] given extra menace via Jim Hunter’s shadowy lighting..”  - The Washington Post

“Jim Hunter’s kaleidoscopic lighting design added flavor and mood…”   - Broadway

Richmond has involved colleagues and alumni from the UofSC family for many of his Folger productions.  Actor William Vaughan (BA, ’13) has been a featured player in Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night.  Also during Twelfth Night, MFA Acting Alum Amanda Forstrom (2013) was an understudy the role of Viola and Daniel Bumgardner (BA, 2011) was assistant director.  In the fall of 2013, Richmond worked with a group of undergraduate theatre majors to conceptualize ideas for his spring, 2014 production of Richard III.  Professor Jim Hunter also designed lighting for that production.

More information about Julius Caesar can be found on the Folger Theatre website.

Watch a video preview below.