Ralph Fiennes in Epic Julius Caesar Headlines BITE 2005 Season

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03 Dec 2004

There have been rumors buzzing about Ralph Fiennes’ return to the London stage (and to Shakespeare) for months. However, the speculation was about whether he’d be coming back to have another crack at Hamlet. It’s an earlier Shakespeare play, though, that has proved the hook: Julius Caesar.

The epic production will feature a cast of over 100 — the biggest ensemble to have performed the play in the U.K. since Peter Stein’s vast production — and will be directed by Deborah Warner. It’s the second show to be produced by Barbican International Theatre Events (BITE). The first was The Black Rider in 2004, which starred Marianne Faithfull.

Caesar will be presented in association with the Young Vic, and will preview at the Barbican Theatre beginning April 14, 2005. The official opening night will follow on April 20, and the show will run until May 14. Following the London run, the show will tour Europe — visiting the Theatre National du Chaillot in Pairs, the Terto Espanol in Madrid and Luxembourg’s Grand Theatre de la Ville.

Fiennes will play Mark Antony. His previous Shakespeare bows have included Edmond in King Lear, Troilus in Troilus and Cressida and the title role in Henry VI for the Royal Shakespeare Company and, elsewhere, Hamlet, Coriolanus and Richard II. His film career embraces hits, including “Schindler’s List,” “The English Patient” and “Red Dragon.”

The BITE 2005 season is, of course, chock-full of other productions. Dublin’s Abbey Theatre will bring the Sean O’Casey classic The Plough and the Stars beginning Jan. 18 (opens Jan. 19). Ben Barnes directs the political thriller.



And, beginning Jan. 26, the iconic director Peter Brook brings his Bouffes du Nord company with Ta Main Dans La Mienne (Your Hand In Mine). Based on the 412 love letters exchanged between Anton Chekhov and his wife, it stars Natasha Parry and Michel Piccoli. It will be performed in French will English surtitles.

Other theatre highlights include Richard Maxwell’s visit with the New York City Players and the experimental “one-man show with a cast of five” (says the press release), Joe. The quintet of players depict the life of one man from childhood to old age. That opens March 2 in the Pit Theatre, and Maxwell follows it with another piece, Showcase, beginning March 14. Set and performed in a real hotel (the Renaissance Chancery Court) room, an audience of 12 watch a man preparing for a conference.

Theatre O brings Astronaut to the Pit beginning April 5. It’s about a man called X who is randomly selected to visit Mars. Based on a short story by Andrea Valdes, the show is directed by Joseph Alford and stars Carolina Valdes, Eva Vilamitjana and Tony Arteaga.

Laurie Anderson brings her solo show The End of the Moon beginning May 18, and the Mayl Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg follows with Uncle Vanya (directed by the much-respected Lev Dodin and starring Sergey Kuryshev) beginning May 24. And the double-act Ridiculusmus — constituting David Woods and Jon Haynes — take on The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy Performed By Two Serious People beginning June 8. Jude Kelly directs.

For more information, call (0)845 120 7516 or visit www.barbican.org.uk.