USiza – An Adaptation Of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

DUT Drama Studies presents its annual IsiZulu Production:
An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Courtyard Theatre, DUT: 1-8 March 2019 nightly at 6 pm
DUT Drama Studies presents its annual isiZulu production, USiza – an adaptation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Julius Caesar at the Courtyard Theatre at DUT running from 1 – 8 March under the direction of Siza Ka Mnisi Mthembu, with choreography by Mdu Mtshali and translated into isiZulu by Sabatha Ngcobo.
DUT Drama keeps the tradition of Shakespeare alive by consistently interrogating the playwright’s universal and timeless writings and enduring themes in regular contemporary and new productions which have toured internationally and have been staged in English and isiZulu.
This cast of 50 second years is led by Nduduzo Ncwane in the titular role, as uSiza, with Mark Antony (Antoniyasi) played by Vuyolwethu Biyela who takes centre stage to avenge Siza’s death. The conspirators are led by Cassius (Kheshisi) played by Mthobisi Mkhwanazi and Brutus (Blutha) played by Sfundo Nzuza.
This adaptation is set somewhere in South Africa, using the fractious political context of our country as a worthy backdrop to the drama.
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is one of serval plays by William Shakespeare inspired by true evens from Roman history – along the same vein as Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra. The theme is the personal within the political – Brutus’ conflicting internal struggle with issues of honour loyalty patriotism and friendship.
The story takes place in 44 BC after Caesar has returned to Rome and faces a conspiracy among Roman republicans led by Cassius who has persuaded Caesar’s friend Brutus to join them.
Though he is Caesar’s friend and a man of honour, Brutus joins in the conspiracy against Caesar’s life. He grapples with deciding the appropriate response to the political conflict and is supported in his moral dilemmas by his noble wife, Portia. On the other hand, Caesar’s wife Calpurnia has a premonition of doom – prophesying her husband’s death. Caesar is slain at the Senate on March 15 (“the Ides of March”). Caesar’s friend Mark Antony, in a perfectly placed piece of propaganda, gives a stirring funeral oration which turns the crowd against the conspirators, beginning with the often quoted lines: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…..” Antony’s challenging of the conspirators ultimately results in a bloody civil war – the battle of Philippi – in which Brutus and Cassius are defeated by Caesar loyalists and kill themselves to avoid further dishonour.
This is the seventh annual production in isiZulu – last year was It’s the double-bill production insumansumane and ukufa kukaShaka; and in 2017 was Welcome Msomi’s iconic and critically acclaimed 1971 play uMabatha – a localized reading of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Tickets are at R50 Adults and R20 students with student cards.
Advance bookings can be made through Busisiwe Mqadi on 3732810 / – or tickets can be purchased at the door.
Dates: 1-8 March 2019
Times: 6 pm nightly
Venue: Courtyard Theatre, DUT

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