Andrew James Hartley
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A strange disposed time
Caesar at the millennium
in Julius Caesar
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The challenge for Julius Caesar in the twentieth century was the negotiation of the play's politics once Orson Welles had demonstrated the triumphs and perils of making explicit comparison with recent or contemporary events. From the Second World War onwards the oratory, heroism and spectacle of the nineteenth century were steadily replaced by more modernist notions of character and totalitarianism. It is fitting that the last conspicuous Julius Caesar production of the old millennium took place at the reconstructed Globe theatre in London in Spring 1999. Edward Hall's 2001 production, which opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre before transferring to the Barbican, evoked both the early twentieth century with its black shirts and strutting, jack-booted Caesar, and the Italian present.

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