Ségolène Royal, runner-up in France’s most recent presidential election, dropped by dress rehearsal on Thursday night. Royal came onstage to have her picture taken. She then talked at length with director Arthur Nauzyciel. I wish I could report what they discussed, but alas they were speaking in French. Royal then sat down to enjoy Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech. Royal’s presence changed the entire context of the speech, for how can one not wonder what goes through the mind of a distinguished politician as they listen to one of the finest pieces of political rhetoric ever written? How much greater must this effect have been when Queen Elizabeth came to see Julius Caesar over 400 years ago!
While certainly the most notable, Royal is one of many guests who have attended Julius Caesar rehearsal this past week. Members of the French media as well as cultural attachés have been present, and there have been radio broadcasts in France documenting the progress of the production. Needless to say, I am impressed with the attention that the French journalists and politicians are giving this production.