As we begin rehearsals for this season’s production of Julius Caesar, we pulled aside our very own resident Caesar for a brief interview. Sarah Landstrom, a local actress and creative force, is a very welcome new addition to the Ghostlight family. Today she gives us some insight into both her background, and her character.
1. Tell me a little about Caesar.
She thrives on being the center of attention, and she's a natural leader. She's also stubborn and arrogant. But her pride is deserved- she's carved out a solid space for herself in a male-dominated field.
2. How do you view the character?
Caesar really is doing her best leading Rome (or at least she thinks she's doing her best). In her mind, it's not just about ambition; she truly thinks she is the best person for the job.
3. What are you looking forward to exploring about the character?
I'm interested in her relationships with the other characters. It's interesting that even though Caesar seems well-liked by the public, in reality, she has very few friends actually on her side.
4. Do you foresee any challenges to portraying Caesar as a woman?
I love that Ghostlight was open to swapping genders! Shakespeare is the perfect medium to play with some gender fluidity- women's roles were played by men in his time, so why not do it the other way around now?
In particular, this is a very interesting time in this country to be playing a female political leader. I think audiences will be receptive to a female Caesar. However, my hope is that after the first few minutes, the novelty of Caesar the woman will wear off, and they will be left with Caesar the person. Everyone knows the story of Caesar, so I think it will really help that we're shaking up their expectations a little bit.
5. How did you first hear about Ghostlight?
I had been trying to find out about auditions for Shakespeare in the Park for a couple years, actually! I'm notoriously bad at hearing about auditions in time. I finally got lucky when some of my friends shared the event page on Facebook.
6. Why did you want to be involved in this show?
I love Shakespeare, and I really like the idea of playing it in the park. It makes it more accessible, which is great because a lot of people have this misconception that Shakespeare is boring and confusing. But that's not true! If we've done our job as actors, audiences will understand every word, and it will be exciting.
7. Was there a particular part you wanted?
If I wasn't Caesar, my next choice would be Cassius. I think it's super rad that Cassius is also a woman in our production!
8. What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
After last weekend, I have to say the stage fighting will be the most challenging part. It's SO much fun, but since Caesar is a skilled fighter, I need to work that much harder to meet her level.
9. Are you involved in any other theatres in the area?
I'll be playing Aunt Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Dietrich theatre next weekend! I've also performed with Diva Theatre, the Shawnee Playhouse, and the Little Theatre of Wilkes-barre.
10. Tell me about your past theatrical work—how did you get started? What have you done? Do you have a part you particularly loved playing?
I first got involved in theatre in high school because I was a singer (I still am!). Musical theatre will always be my favorite, but for some reason, I've done more plays than musicals. I studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It's hard to pick a favorite role...I really enjoyed playing Helena in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
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Thanks for reading!