Rich Rubin, Playwright of NAAP Play Caesar’s Blood

The second play in our New American Playwrights’ Project is Caesar’s Blood, by Rich Rubin. It will have staged readings the week of 8/10 with public performances on 8/14 and 8/15 at 10am in the Auditorium Theatre.

Here’s what we learned in a chat with Rich.

He’s been writing plays since 2008 when he retired from his medical practice. His plays have been produced both in the US and internationally and he is the recipient of many awards. This will be his second trip to Cedar City. He was here in 2011 for the Neil Simon Festival and while here attended several plays at the Festival. He’s looking forward to his return.

Rich told us that the genesis of the play was a book he read called “Brothers – On His Brothers and Brothers in History”, by George Howe Colt.  The chapter about the Booth brothers triggered Rich’s imagination and after much research, this play is the result.

Caesar’s Blood is based on factual events. It takes place in late 1864, during the American Civil War. Lincoln had just been re-elected. The Booth brothers (Edwin, Junius Brutus and John Wilkes) were all famous actors of that era. For one performance only, they appeared together in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Junius Brutus and Edwin were pro-Union and John Wilkes was pro-confederacy and pro-slavery.

There are two layers of conflict in the play: that generated by their differing political views andby sibling rivalry. Act I is in their dressing room before the play and Act II is after the performance. Additional characters are their mother and Edwin’s dresser, an ex-slave.

Does this evening lay the groundwork for Lincoln’s assassination? You’ll have to watch the staged reading and decide for yourself.

The play has had three previous staged readings. Rich’s goal for this week is to work with the Festival’s terrific actors and his director, Josh Stavros, to strengthen the play with the ultimate goal of a complete production. He is looking forward to being surprised and inspired during the process.

And lest you think it’s a dark play, he assures us that there are plenty of sharp, witty moments where audiences respond with laughter.

You can learn more about NAPP at http://www.bard.org/napp/. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.bard.org or at the door.