Monday, November 21, 2005

Julius Caesar

(Photo of Patrick Teoh as Cassius - the bad guy. Courtesy of Living Arts Malaysia

"Hail Caesar!"....."Beware the Ides of March"...."Friends, Romans, countrymen; lend me your ears..."......"Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed that he is grown so great?"....."Et Tu Brute?"...........

That's some of the stuff that's been keeping me busy the past few weeks without time to blog. Trying to remember lines from Shakespeare at my age is getting increasingly difficult:-)

Yes, it has been a long time since this blog has been updated. But I trust that some of us have been having some fun reminiscing of the good old days. And from the number of comments received it is obvious there were quite a few of those good old days to remember. Thank you for the memories.

The reason for my forced blog silence is "Julius Caesar", the play. I have been busy rehearsing for the play which opens December 2 at the KLPAC (Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre for you flers less informed).

This production of one of William Shakespeare most well known tragedies is being staged as the KLPAC end of year production and promises to be a jolly good show. Damn good and enjoyable la in other words.

I am playing my dream role of Cassius, one of the conspirators....."...yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look..." Okay, okay, I can hear some of you laughing already. "Patrick Teoh lean and hungry look ah? Where got?". But this is theatre ma. So sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief a bit la:-) Since my secondary school days I have dreamed of playing the role of Cassius which I think is the most interesting character in the play. Okay lah so most people remember Antony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen....lend me your ears" speech most of all. But it is Cassius who has the most juicy lines in the play. And it is always more interesting to play the 'bad guy' than the hero.

Okay, okay, the plain truth is that I am using this blog to do some unashamed promoting of the play la.

Please help to spread the word to all your friends.

Come and watch a damn good show.

I know it is Shakespeare. And some of you baargers will be scared. Aiyoh! Cannot understand la. The Engrand very deep la. I got tickets for Harry Potter la. Thousand and one excuses la. But it is only going to be 90 minutes long and I promise that you won't have a dull moment.

Then ah....also can see the beautiful Samantha Schubert as Portia.

The recurring wet dream of Malaysian teenaged girls, Gavin Yap.

The ever delightful Ari Ratos.

And other new faces never before seen on the Malaysian stage. Some of you have been complaining about seeing the same old baargers on stage, right? So this time you can see some new ones. So no excuses ya? Come lah. Dates and ticket information can be found below.

(Poster courtesy of Living Arts Malaysia)


Ari Ratos as Brutus
Patrick Teoh as Cassius
Gavin Yap as Marc Antony
Kennie Dowle as Caesar
Clare Dedic as Calphurnia
Samantha Schubert as Portia
Kurt Crocker as Casca


Colin Kirton, Pavanjeet Singh, Roshan Narayan, Calvyn Wong, Michael Chen and Amsalan Doraisingam.

William Shakespeare's 'JULIUS CAESAR' has intrigued audiences for centuries. It is a no-holds-barred scathing commentary on the ruthlessness, deceit and hypocrisy surrounding the eternal struggles of politics and power. Caesar is the quintessential play pitting perceived good against perceived evil. Its main characters can be likened to any leaders of the modern world and their desire to rule. Autocracy or democracy?

Julius Caesar is a tale of conspiracy, power, death and destruction.

When Caesar returns victorious to Rome, he is offered the crown by the populace and unwillingly he rejects it, three times. Cassius, wary of Caesar's foibles and ambitions conspires to have Caesar assassinated; but for his conspiracy to be accepted by the populace he must, and does, win the noble Brutus over to his side.

The pre-determined day for the assassination, the Ides of March (15th March), is prophesised by a soothsayer. On that day, Caesar is mercilessly stabbed to death on his way to the Senate House. One by one the conspirators, in the form of a ritualistic sacrifice, thrust their daggers into Caesar's body. The final thrust is delivered by Caesar's beloved Brutus... 'Et tu Brute'.

What follows is a disastrous series of events, culminating in the double suicides of Cassius and Brutus.

Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC)
Date: 2-11 December 2005
All days @ 8.30 PM except Sundays @ 3 PM
Monday no show
Price: RM60 & RM40, 50% off for students below 18


TV Smith said...

Shameless promotion... ? But Cassius's blog must be above suspicion... hehe. See you opening night!

King's wife said...

wah, killer hensem.
show sounds good.
my daughter doing a short drama at KLPAC tomorrow nite. went there for the first time today...beautiful place.

Samm said...

If go there, can get free poster with all signatures intact onot? plus take pictures will all the actors/actresses also? got free coke with popcorn wan ah? just kidding, k, just kidding.... i'm sure it's gonna be a funfilled night watching u play onstage.

lecram sinun said...

break a leg, my friend! I'm sure you will all rock!

patrickteoh said...

Thanks for the support here, my friends. But your bum on the seat would be much better. Well, except for lecram lah cos he's 12,000 miles away:-)

King's wife, since your daughter is taking classes in KLPAC you must also come and watch and experience theatre for yourself.

Samm, you don't eat popcorn in theatre. Really!!! But if you come I promise you will not only receive a poster with the cast's autograph. You will also get a hug from Gavin Yap, the wet dream of thousands of Malaysian women.

Tell you what. I'll even buy you a coke.

Thanks lecram. I will send you the reviews.

dhssraj said...

ayoh 40 bucks is very steep for a student above 18! sucks being a student thats too old for student discounts :)

Maxforce said...

yeah, I am with dhssraj.
Hey since when did they put an age limit on the student tickets? I remember watching at Actors Studio few months back and there was no age limit?

patrickteoh said...

I sympathise with poor students but them's the breaks I guess. Not all productions are like this and you're right about getting student 50% discounts for other shows. I really don't know why they have decided on this course of action. Maybe you'd like to visit The Actors Studio or KLPAC websites and pose your questions there. I'm sure they will be happy to explain.

Anonymous said...

There is something about that 'look' in that poster of yours, Patrick....that sullen look, that petulant pout....very Richard Burton.....feel like pinching those cheeks to see if u bite! Might be worth my $60 just to go see if u do! Can I have a coke too?

FoggyDuo said...

We'll be there.. 10th Dec, 3 bums on 3 seats. Can get YOUR poster with YOUR signature ah? And, for me, Coke Lite please.

See ya there.

Helen said...

All the best to you!! BTW, your poster looks damn CUN lar.... OK, to be precise, it's u. lol

gier said...

Dear Uncle Patrick,

As I mentioned elsewhere I'm not that old. Anyhow, the point is that I don't recall ever reading Shakespeare in school (primary or secondary). During your time ah, did they teach it in school?

I'm planning to see your Cassius, though I am worried that the England in the play might be to dense for me, not having any background in Shakespeare at all (and Shakespeare In Love doesn't count because I only watched it to see Gwyneth's bits).

Is a knowledge of the play a prerequisite to being there and dishing out the dosh?

Thank you aa Uncle.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we were the first two to buy a couple of seats in front!

no joke.

MaxForce said...

Might just do that - posting the question to Actors Studio or KLPAC... I think students are very important customer base to target - teach ppl like me to be cultural mah and then next time when working oledi, no need subsidy and owez support!!!
Still ... might just reserve enuff for the show!!! (some luxuries are worth it!)

lecram sinun said...

Yeah, I know it's an American holiday... but Happy Thanksgiving, anyway! I just think it is important to remind ourselves once in a while to be thankful for who and what we have in our lives.


patrickteoh said...

Happy Thanksgiving to lecram. Yes, American or no it is good to give thanks for our blessings. YES! Come and see Julius Caesar. KLPAC. December 2 - 11. Great show. Sure don't regret one.

Yes, Maxforce you do that and I am sure that other students in the same predicament as you would appreciate it. Post your results here to share when the time comes.

Anonymous, you bought 2 tickets in the front row!!! Thank you from all of us. You will have a great time at the show. Although since you've got front row seats you might also get some slaiva spray from us in the bargain. You will be very close:-)

Hi Gier. Donch worry about your Engrand not being good enough to understand Shakespeare. Actually the fler's Engrand is also not so good lah if you ask me. Like why say, Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears! when can just say, "Oi! Shut up lah you F***ERS!!!". Come and see the show. I can almost guarantee that you will forget about the language and get involved in the action of the story. And once you do that the comprehension of the language seems automatic.

Thanks also to the foggyduo. Look forward to seeing you in the theatre.

Helen, cun or not cun you coming to see the play or not? Come la.

JasonL said...

In such present times where the world talks so often of regime change and spreading democracy and preserving freedom, Julius Caesar is most relevant. Remember how our politicians paraphrase Brutus’ “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” when they wanna attack a fellow-political party leader.

I note that Joe Hasham said that the play is adapted in that the end battle scenes etc. are omitted and there may be some new lines written in. I remember watching this play in May this year in New York on a business trip. I went because we wanted to see Denzel Washington in person (he plays Brutus). This was also an adaptation by Daniel Sullivan who puts it in a really modern context with troops wearing black wool hats and fatigues, the roar of helicopter gun-ships, even metal detectors set up to check the senators who come to call on Julius Caesar. The joke was that the Capitol’s metal detectors allow Brutus to pass through with a briefcase full of daggers.
The conspirators are white-collar terrorists, all dressed in business attire. Denzel Washington had a sparkling stud in his left ear and makes a stylish entrance in a gray suit offset by a crisp blue shirt. We get to see black jacketed thugs pulling down a sheet with Caesar's picture on it and also watch machine-gun-totting red-bereted troops racing through the “rubble” of Rome. And especially in hearing police sirens going off as Mark Antony cries, "Let slip the dogs of war!"
Denzel Washington is a very good actor but he was really bad as Brutus in Julius Caesar. Just mouthing the lines so fast without much passion and conviction, I reckon. The star that night was really Colm Feore who plays Cassius.

And so, Patrick, I think u have actually landed the star role playing the most important and demanding role of all. Cassius is the most intellectual of all the characters in the play but alas intellect does not necessarily equals intelligence or being street-smart to survive. If Bill Gates calls himself, CSA or Chief Software Architect, then I think Cassius should be called CCA, Chief Conspiracy Architect, so he is not just “one of the conspirators”.

So Patrick, u gotta show that u are a talented general, consumed with envy, yet noble and is a good observer of men, having uncommon insight into people’s motivations, serious in outlook, one who reads a lot and does not smile much accounting for the “lean and hungry look”, does not like music (exorcise your music machine from your system), possibly a master of villainy with great manipulative abilities, passionate, impulsive and unscrupulous, and harbors no illusions about the way the political world works, as well as a shrewd opportunist. Cassius develops most as the action progresses. In the end, he is a calm friend of Brutus who will remain faithful to their friendship until death. If Julius Caesar is a tragedy then it is also very the tragedy of Cassius.
I have no doubt you will be able to do it and be the star.

Will I be there for this play? You bet I will! I’ll even bring along my teenage daughter so that she can hug Gavin Yap as well, ha ha. She watched him during Actorlympics recently and said he’s real cute! For me, can I get to hug Portia? ha ha. So u better order a crate of coke for more fans turning up for this play.

P.S. Please remind Kennie to mispronounce “Et tu, Brute?” as “Bru-tay”. Cheerio!

JasonL said...

Alamak, my apologies.
The P.S. should be :
"Please remind Kennie NOT to mispronounce “Et tu, Brute?” as “Bru-tay”.

Cheerio and have a good day

patrickteoh said...

Hi Jason. Thanks for your comments. I did catch an interview with Denzel Washington on the the Late Show with David Letterman and they showed some clips of the production of Julius Caesar. Too bad he didn't do a good job as Brutus. Strange though isn't it? Yes, I do relish the role of Cassius. Even when I was in school I had always thought of Cassius as the most interesting character in the play. And in this adaptation I think Joe has given the focus to Cassius, his intellect and intents and his relationship with Brutus. Something which I do not remember ever having seen. Even in the film version with Brando, Mason and Gilgud the story always seemed to revolve around the politics much more than the relationships. Dunno la. Maybe it is just my poor understanding of Shakespeare back then.

You've got a lot of people intrigued. How is Et tu, Brute supposed to be pronounced?

JasonL said...

I am no authority in Latin words but I can share this enlightenment I received from a friend of mine who is a historian.He said that after the fall of the Roman empire, the Latin language became the language of books and learning, of churches, monasteries, and universities, and as people in the streets gradually developed dialects that over time became French,Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Romansh. The Italians will want to pronounce Latin words in their Italian way. But generally, today, there are three principal methods of pronouncing the "dead" language -- the ecclesiastical pronunciation ie. the Roman pronunciation, the classical or German pronunciation, and the Oxford or English pronunciation, which sound the name Caesar as Chay-zar, Kye-zar, and See-zar, respectively. Most of the people pronounce Latin words in the English manner as it is the easiest.The vowels are pronounced as in English, short and long, as in hat and hate, get and greet, bit and bite, cot and cote, and but and brute. (Strictly speaking, the diphthong "a: " is pronounced "ee", while the short "i" is also pronounced "ee" before another vowel.) The consonants are also given English values. There are no silent vowels. Every written vowel is pronounced.

The difficulty is with only two things:
(a) where to put the stress and (b) how to tell whether a vowel is long or short

Coming to "Brute", the problem is in the "u" and the "e" which are both vowels and they can either be pronounced as such:

1) u as oo (prolonged) in boot;
e as in eh? (prolonged) or a in
date; or

2) u as oo (clipped)in foot;
e as eh? (clipped) or e in net

Since the rule is that there are no silent vowels and every written vowel is pronounced, then "Brute" becomes : "bru oo T-eh".

Well, I don't know if he is 100% correct, so it will be great if your researcher can check on this.Anyway, whichever way u guys choose to say it is really up to u so long as you don't pronounce it as 'brute' to rhyme with fruit!
Ha ha, have a good time rehearsing.

patrickteoh said...

Hi JasonL. Thank you for some very interesting reading indeed. Kenny (who plays Caesar) will be relieved that he is not mispronouncing Et tu, Brute:-)

Look forward to seeing you and your princess in the theatre. Please help to spread the word and sell tickets. The run of the play is too short to depend on word-of-mouth. Many thanks again.

Anonymous said...

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Much thanks :)