Langley bards play Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

One of Shakespeare’s most epic tales of greed, corruption, patriotism, and collusion goes on stage throughout July as Bard in Valley’s (BIV) fifth production.

Julius Caesar comes to life with the help of producer Diane Gendron, director Darcy J. Knopp, and among a number of volunteers, former  H.D. Stafford Secondary teacher and BIV co-technical director Ron Williams.

Taking place on three stages this summer, the performance puts a lot of pressure on Williams to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, making him the star behind the scenes.

“When you do theatre for 28 years, you’ve probably had every problem you can think of,” Williams noted. “You have to do it all when you’re the drama teacher.”

As the theatre and drama teacher at H.D. Stafford, Williams found himself filling many roles during his teaching career.

It gives him the ability to respond to the needs of an intense performance like Julius Caesar.

Those unfamiliar with the play will find it contains the first use of well-known lines like: “Et tu, Bute?”, “It was Greek to me”, and “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears.”

Based on the political rise and fall of an empire more than 2,000 years ago, the story focuses on the assassination of the Roman leader and the internal and external conflicts that arise before, during, and after Caesar’s death.

While Caesar may hold the title name, it is Brutus who takes centre stage which means technical skill as well as acting must come into play for those in front of and behind the scenes.

Williams downplays his own part in the production, instead focusing on the accomplishments of the others involved.

“I’ve been really, really impressed with the dedication of the young people,” he said of his fellow volunteers.

“It’s nice to see these kids succeeding and doing well.”

The producer recognizes the skill Williams brings.

“Bard in the Valley is fortunate to have Ron Williams on our team. He brings a great depth of theatrical knowledge and expertise to our productions and to the BIV board,” Dianne Gendron said.

Williams contributed to the development of others on the BIV team. He taught technician Erik Jensen, one of the BIV board members, and Knopp who is the director of the production.

“Darcy, who is the director, was a student of mine from Grade 8 to 12,” Williams said. “I think Darcy’s brought such an edge to it [the play].”

Langley residents make up eight of the cast members including the pivotal roles of Brutus and Portia, yet it takes many others to bring the performance to life.

“Bard in the Valley is able to continue to bring this exciting summer theatre to Langley because of the wonderful support from the community and the 60 talented and dedicated cast, crew, and production team who volunteer their time and energy for the season, because we want to give something worthwhile back to the community,” noted Gendron.

See the production free on July 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, and Aug. 1, 2, and 3 on the Spirit Square stage at Douglas Park at 7 pm. or 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees.

The Township 7 Winery presents Julius Caesar for $20 on July 11, 12, 18, 19, and 20 at 7 p.m. or 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinee.

Reserve tickets at www.club7.township7.com/store. See www.bardinthevalley.com for full details.

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