One of the great figures of history--Julius Caesar--as portrayed by one of the great writers of all time--William Shakespeare--will be the focus for "Sam Houston Night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion."

The dinner theatre event is scheduled for August 2 as a joint effort of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and the offices of University Relations and Development and Alumni Relations at Sam Houston State.

"It will be like a homecoming, a high class picnic, and classical drama, all rolled into one," said Dion McInnis, director of University Relations and Development at SHSU.

The featured performers will be England's Anglian Open Air Shakespeare Company, presenting the Bard's popular study of power and politics, dictatorship and democracy--"Julius Caesar--" at 8 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30.

Michael Edwards, the British theatre producer and actor, came up with the idea of touring with his group after it achieved critical acclaim and box office success at the Stamford Shakespeare Festival in England. He felt there were a number reasons why the tour and their production of "Julius Caesar" would be popular in the United States. These include:

"This production is concerned as much with Brutus as with Caesar," said Edwards. "Caesar, the superstar, might pull the crowd, and indeed the most universal image of the play is his disbelieving 'Et Tu, Brute?' as he succumbs to the 'vile daggers' meant to 'carve him as a dish fit for the gods.' "

Edwards said that the "tragic focus of the play" belongs to Brutus. "Ironically," said Edwards, "he shares some of Caesar's flaws, for his self-righteous moralizing and his stubborn insistence on constantly overruling Cassius' shrewd advice mirror the arrogance which ultimately costs Caesar dearly."

Edwards calls Brutus a "man of vision--an idealist whose dreams of a democratic Rome give him a personal magnetism recognized by all."

"Is he the greatest leader Rome never had?" asks Edwards. "The leader we all think we want, but rarely get? It is no surprise that his final eulogy is given by his enemy.

"It is to that element of vision, however illusory, that Shakespeare seems to direct the hearts of his audience in the closing moments of the play, and that, ultimately, is more powerful than Caesar's Ghost."

A limited number of reserved-seat tickets at $20, which includes the pre-show dinner at 6:30 p.m., are available. An added feature will be dinner music by the SHSU chapter of the Sigma Alpha Iota fraternity for women in music.

Visa and MasterCard billing will be accepted and the tickets mailed out on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the office of University Relations and Development at 409-294-3625 for ticket reservations and further details.


For more information, contact Frank Krystyniak at 409-294-1833, 409-295-8541 (home), or e-mail pin_frk@shsu.edu.

June 17, 1996