Cast of Characters
Henry Fincher: Julius Caesar, Ghost.
Houston Fehrman: Mark Antony.
Braden Wahl: Caius Cassius.
Josh Winscott: Marcus Brutus.
Jay Helbig: Lepidus, Cinna, Flavius.
Travis Flatt: Murellus, Caius Ligarius, Clitus, Claudius.
Sy Matlock: Calphurnia, Varros, (Strato), first Plebeian (citizen).
Haley Smith: Octavius Caesar, Cobbler, Plebian.
Evan Cole: Casca, Volumnius.
Angie Creasy: Soothsayer, Pindarus, soldier.
Joe Clark: Metellus Cimber, Titinius, Cinna the Poet.
Andrew Neal: Young Cato, Popilius Lena, Antony’s Servant (III,1), citizen (I,1).
David Farmer: Decius Brutus, Lucilius.
Jacob Roberts: Messala, Cicero, Publius.
Bailee Michaels: Portia, Dardanus, second Plebeian (citizen), Second Soldier.
Gus Creter: Lucius, citizen (I,1).
Kat Fincher: Caesar’s and Octavius’s Servant, third Plebian (citizen), messenger (V,1),
Michelle Smith: Trebonius, Plebian, citizen (I,1), soldier.
About the Play
The tribunes, Marullus and Flavius, break up a gathering of Roman citizens who seek to celebrate Julius Caesar’s triumphant return from war. The victory is marked by public games in which Caesar’s friend, Mark Antony, takes part. On his way to the arena Caesar is stopped by a stranger who warns that he should ‘Beware the Ides (15th) of March.’
Fellow senators, Caius Cassius and Marcus Brutus, are suspicious of Caesar’s reactions to the power he holds in the Republic. They fear he will accept offers to become Emperor. Cassius, a successful general himself, is jealous, while Brutus has a more balanced view of the political position. Cassius, Casca, and their allies, visit Brutus at night to persuade him of their views, and they plan Caesar’s death. Brutus is troubled but will not confide in his devoted wife, Portia.
On the 15th March Caesar is urged not to go to the Senate by his wife, Calphurnia, who has had dreamsthat he will be murdered, and she fears the portents of the overnight storms. He is nevertheless persuaded by flattery to go and as petitioners surround him Caesar is stabbed and dies as Brutus gives the final blow. Against Cassius’s advice Mark Antony is allowed by Brutus to speak a funeral oration in the market place after Brutus has addressed the people of Rome to explain the conspirators’ reasons and their fears for Caesar’s ambition. Brutus calms the crowd but Antony’s speech stirs them to rioting and the conspirators are forced to flee from the city.
Brutus and Cassius gather an army in Northern Greece and prepare to fight the forces led by Mark Antony, who has joined with Caesar’s great-nephew, Octavius, and with Lepidus. Away from Rome, Brutus and Cassius are filled with doubts about the future and they quarrel bitterly over funds for their soldiers’ pay. They make up the argument and despite the misgivings of Cassius over the site they prepare to engage Antony’s army at Philippi. Brutus stoically receives news of his wife’s suicide in Rome, but he sees Caesar’s ghost as he rests, unable to sleep on the eve of the conflict.
In the battle the Republicans at first appear to be winning but when his messenger’s horse seems to be overtaken by the enemy Cassius fears the worst and gets his servant, Pindarus, to help him to a quick death. Brutus, finding Cassius’s body, commits suicide as the only honourable action left to him. Antony, triumphant on the battlefield, praises Brutus as ‘the noblest Roman of them all’, and orders a formal funeral before he and Octavius return to rule in Rome.
Director…Mark Harry Creter
Technical Director…Matt Wilson
Stage Manager…Kate Mucke
Fight Choreographer…Carolyn Grace Corley
Costume Designer…Anthony Herd
Props…TTU Backdoor Playhouse
Backstage…James Alder, Haley Hunter
Set Design…Matt Wilson
Set Construction…Matt Wilson, Roger Long, Colin Forsyth
Light Design…Patrick Mannle
Music Design…Mark Harry Creter
Poster Design…Matthew Wilson
Playbill Design/Editor…Steve Gwilt
Light Board Operator…Samia Anderson
Sound Board Operator…Ethan Phillips
House Managers…Morgan Corlew, Kim Frick-Welker
Paint Crew…Kim Frick-Welker, Jeff Kean
Henry Fincher (Julius Caesar) is a Cookeville trial lawyer. Tonight he fulfills Shakepeare’s famous admonition to “kill all the lawyers” in the role of “Julius Caesar” who (spoiler alert!) snuffs it in Act III. He played hapless twin “Dromio” in last year’s Comedy of Errors and is thrilled to share the stage again with his daughter, Kat Fincher. He asks that when Caesar dies, don’t applaud, just throw money.
Joshua Winscott (Marcus Brutus) Julius Caesar marks the sixth Shakespeare in the Park for Josh. Previous roles were “Oberon” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Malvolio” in Twelfth Night, “MacDuff” in “that Scottish play”, “Buckingham” and “Norfolk” in Richard III, and “Antipholus of Ephesus” in A Comedy of Errors. He has also been seen on most of the other stages in town. Favorite roles include “Count Dracula” in Crane Johnson’s Dracula, “Jaycee Squires” in The Music Man, and “Miles Gloriosus” in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Braden Wahl (Casius Cassius) is a senior at TTU. Recent roles include “The Groom” in Blood Wedding, and “Beethoven” in Dog Sees God.
Houston Fehrman (Mark Antony) graduated from Tennessee Tech University last December with a B.A. in English with a focus in Dramatic Arts. Some past credits include “Richard Loeb” in Never the Sinner, “Rod” in Avenue Q, and “Brad Majors” in The Rocky Horror Show. He would like to thank everyone for their patience, especially when he was yelling patience at them. He would also like you to know that no poets were harmed during the making of this play. This one’s for Rapp
Jeffrey “Jay” Helbig (Flavious, Cinna, Lepidus, Poet) is happy to bring you such wonderful parts as “Cinna” and “the Poet”, but toally not “Cinna, the poet”. That’s someone else entirely. He would like to thank his friends, fellow actors, and the crew for making this production so enjoyable. Shoutouts to my wonderful family for coming to see the show.
Sy Matlock (Calpurnia, Citizen, Varro) recently played “Begger Woman” in Blood Wedding, and her favorite role was “C.B.’s Sister” in Dog Sees God. She would like to thank Kate Mucke for being an excellent stage manager and Mark Creter for his guidance and confidence in her. She is excited to perform in her first Shakespearian show and hope everyone enjoys it!
Haley Smith (Octavius Caesar, Cobbler) recently got a haircut.
Evan Cole (Marullus, Casca, Volumnius) has done a lot of Shakespeare but is performing in Julius Caesar for the first time. Playing 3 roles in this production, that now makes 15 of the Bard’s plays he’s been in (some multiple times) & 26 different characters portrayed over the last 50+ years. That includes 6 at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, 6 at the Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood, CA, & 9 here in Cookeville.
Angie Creasy (Soothsayer/Pindarus) is a Senior English/Dramatic Arts major at Tennessee Tech. She has been in several productions, some of her favorites being “Cinderella’s Stepmother” in Into the Woods (VSCC), “Mrs. Cratchit” in A Christmas Carol the Musical (HPAC), and “Leonardo’s Wife” in Blood Wedding (TNTECH), just to name a few. She would like to thank the whole cast and crew for being awesome. She loves all things Shakespeare and is excited to help bring this hauntingly beautiful story to life for you.
Joe Clark (Cimber, Cinna the Poet, Titinius) This is Joe’s second time working on Shakespeare in the Park and third time overall working on Shakespeare. His previous acting roles include “Nick Bottom” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a “Woodcutter” in Lorca’s Blood Wedding. He would like to thank Mark Creter for this opportunity.
Andrew D Neal (citizen, servant, Young Cato, Popilius Lena) I have been acting since the 7th grade. My favorite role to date was The Dentist, “Orin Scrivello” in Little Shop of Horrors when I was 16. Special thanks to all the cast for being so welcoming.
David Farmer (Decius Brutus, Lucilius) loves acting like a pig loves corn.
Jacob Roberts (Cicero, Publius, Messala) is loving every minute of his second year of Shakespeare in the Park. Recently his roles have included the “Father” in Talking Cure and “Dr. Austin Sloper” in the award-winning production of The Heiress. He would like to thank his Mother and Father for always inspiring him and encouraging him to pursue his dreams.
Bailee Michaels (Portia, Second Citizen, Dardanius) is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful show. She is happy to be able to work with such a talented and hard working cast and crew. She hopes you enjoy the show!
Gus Creter (Lucius, Citizen) is excited to be making another appearance in a Shakespeare production in Dogwood Park on the Performance Pavilion stage. He recently performed the role of “Fritz” in The Nutcracker for Stage One Dance Studio and in their spring recital at CPAC. Past performances include “Edward, Prince of Wales” in Shakespeare’s Richard III and “Gregor Macduff” in Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the Dogwood Shakespeare Festival. He performed as a young suitor in the Cookeville Children’s Theatre production Fiddler on the Roof and has regularly participated in CCT summer workshops. He is very active at Avery Trace Middle School where he serves on the Beta Club, is a member of the student council, works on the newspaper staff and he recently served as a 2016 Homecoming Escort. He also plays percussion in the ATMS Band. He wants to thank his parents for their awesomeness and this terrific cast and crew. He also wants his extended family to know, “I love you”.
Kat Fincher (Caesar’s and Octavus’s Servant, Plebian, Messenger) is a sophomore at Cookeville High School. Despite her youth, Kat has an impressive theatrical resume that includes being a veteran of Shakespeare in the Park and performing in the Backdoor Playhouse’s recent presentation of Blood Wedding. She also is currently cast in Rocky Horror Picture Show that opens next week.
Michelle Smith (Trebonius, Citizen, Soldier) is so happy to be a part of Julius Caesar. You may have seen her recently as “Inez” in No Exit. Michelle has also had the pleasure of being a part of other shows in the area, including Round Trip, Avenue Q, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and more. She would like to thank Mark and Kate for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful production. She would also love to thank her fellow cast mates and the backstage support crew as well as her family and loved ones. We hope you enjoy your time with Shakespeare as much as we have!
Carolyn Grace Corley (Fight Choreographer) is an actor, director and fight choreographer, cultivated in Maryland, grown in New Mexico and now thriving in East Tennessee.
Kate Mucke (Stage Manager) is excited to be working on her first Shakespeare show! She would like to thank Mark for giving her this opportunity and her family for supporting her.
Ethan Phillips (Audio) is new to the production side of theater. His first experience with theater was acting in his high school performance of Totally Awesome 80’s! His favorite performances in theater is “Joey Richter” in Starship. Ethan is from Livingston, and is studying Computer Engineering.
Mark Harry Creter (Director) is a Professor of Theatre for the Tennessee Technological University’s Department of English as well as the artistic director of the campus theatre, the TTU Backdoor Playhouse. Recently he directed productions of Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca, Never the Sinner by John Logan, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Richard III by William Shakespeare. Recent performances include Clarence Darrow in Never the Sinner, Mr. Bumble in Oliver! and Ray in Yankee Tavern. From 2007-2015 he attended the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN where he taught interactive theatre workshops for The Academy at Bonnaroo.
He has lived in Cookeville for over 20 years where he works with all the local theatre groups in one capacity or another. He was instrumental (with Chad McDonald and Steve Gwilt) in the formation of the Dogwood Shakespeare Festival, which celebrates its 13th season in downtown Cookeville. He directed the inaugural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as successful productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night. In the summer of 2012 he returned to the Festival to direct a very well received production of the tragedy Macbeth and in 2014 he directed Steve Gwilt in the title role of Richard III, based on a production Creter originally directed for the Shakespeare on the Square in Knoxville, TN in the summer of 2013. He received the College of Arts and Sciences Research and Creativity Award for directing these productions.
He has received awards for outstanding directing and acting from the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition. He received the Artist /Patron award from the Cookeville Arts Council and the Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for his work directing and producing benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. In 2008 he received the QEP Award of Excellence in Innovative Instruction with his colleague Andy Smith.
He has been involved with the Tennessee Theatre Association where he has served in numerous capacities such as President, Vice-President, College and University Division Chair, and Middle Tennessee Representative. He has also been involved with the South Eastern Theatre Conference, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the David Mamet Society.
He is married to local dance instructor/choreographer and co-owner of the Stage One Dance Studio, Jennifer Dotson-Creter. When they are not collaborating on various theatre or dance projects they are raising their beautiful blue-eyed son Gus.
“How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over, in states unborn and accents yet unknown?” This line spoken by Cassius following the murder of Caesar is one of the many reasons I so love working on plays by Mr. Shakespeare. That a playwright such as Shakespeare would put the thought in his character’s head that his actions and those of his fellow conspirators would be “acted” out by future generations, and this character is in a play that tells the story of the actual murder of Julius Caesar and is based on an actual historical figure that participated in said murder and that the character is being portrayed by an actor from Tennessee, a “state unborn” and speaking in an “accent yet unknown” is an example of meta-theatre that blows my mind. This is a simple but powerful example of the genius of William Shakespeare.
Julius Caesar was a play that I immediately thought would be appropriate in an election year. Not because this or that character is Trump or Hillary but because the play is about the ramifications of a desire to enact radical, political change. The conspirators look at the current leadership in Rome, they fear the growing power of Caesar and they undertake the task of enacting change. As was appropriate in that day, they set about planning and carrying out the assassination of Caesar and the outcome is chaos. It is apparent that much of the current political climate is being influenced by a frustration for the current political climate and a belief that there is a better way. This belief fuels the play as well. The violent political world in Julius Caesar with an “electorate” that is easily swayed by the whims of the so-called leaders (particularly those who scream the loudest) seem very relevant to our current political climate.
While I have never shied away from altering Shakespeare’s plays to either suit a “concept”, or make it clearer, or simply shorter, I have found very little incentive to “mess” with this play he created. Even the use of modern clothing was more a nod to how it would have been done in the Elizabethan theatre with the use of their contemporary clothing with touches of Rome rather than Roman costumes. I encouraged Anthony, our costumer to look for modern things that would have a “Roman-like” quality on stage. The use of modern knee and elbow pads, and helmets in the battle sequences have a similar look to elements of the Roman armor. I chose to keep the weaponry of the Roman era; swords, shields, spears, etc, because they just look cool. I hope we have created a believable 21st century Roman Empire (minus the entire realm of electronics from which, frankly, we all need a break).
I am grateful for this cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring the production to life. Special notice to Josh Winscott and Evan Cole who are long-time participants to Dogwood Shakes and who always bring an energy, intelligence and creativity to their work that inspires me. I also want to recognize my students, Braden Wahl, Joe Clark, Houston Fehrman (yeah, I know, Houston and Joe, but you will always be my students), Bailee Michaels, Sy Matlock, David Farmer, and Kate Mucke who also participated in the recent “musical experience” that “challenged” us all and yet they still agreed to work with me again. An extra special shout out to Kate who put up with more “challenges” than any stage manager should, she has been a strong right hand on that and this production and I am grateful. Finally I want to acknowledge the City of Cookeville and the Department of Leisure Services for continuing to support and encourage the arts in our community. Not every city our size has an annual Shakespeare Festival and I am very grateful that we do. Oh, also a big thank you to Chad, Matt, Steve, Patrick and Kim for all they do for the arts in Cookeville and for always making CPAC a second theatre home for me. Patrons, thank you for attending Julius Caesar tonight and for your continued support of the arts in Cookeville and Putnam County.
Past Shakespeare in Dogwood Park productions:
2004-A Midsummer Night’s Dream-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2005-Romeo and Juliet-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2006-Taming of the Shrew-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2007-Twelfth Night-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2008-Hamlet-directed by Dave Johnson
2009-The Tempest-directed by Steven W Gwilt
2010-The Merry Wives of Windsor-directed by Dave Jonson
2011-The Merchant of Venice-directed by Dave Davidson
2012-Macbeth-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2013-As You Like It-directed by Steven W Gwilt
2014-Richard III-directed by Mark Harry Creter
2015-The Comedy of Errors-directed by Kim Frick-Welker
2016-Julius Caesar-directed by Mark Harry Creter