When he scorched playing fields during his days with the Tennessee Titans, Eddie George found himself plotted against by NFL defenses from east to west.
His football career is long over, but George once again is a prime target as he steps into the sandals of Julius Caesar in The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production of the famed play by the same name.
The four-time Pro Bowl running back, who made his stage debut five years ago in a production of “God’s Trombones,” aims to be seen through new eyes in the setting of ancient Rome.
“I hope that the performance will have enough integrity that you won’t just have a football player up there, but instead, a man (Caesar) who has accomplished a lot and is in the midst of transition, dealing with his own issues,” George told the Tennessean this month. “It’s fear versus confidence, the whole array of emotions going through him as a human being.”
Denice Hicks, the festival’s artistic director, was instantly impressed by “how dedicated (George) is to the craft of acting,” and his performance has been lauded by those who worked alongside him through rehearsals.
Less generous was NFL.com’s Henry Hodgson, our resident Brit and a former student of Shakespearian theater, who gave the above preview a chilly response, labeling it “hamtastic.” Around the League blogger Dan Hanzus awarded it a thumbs up, asking for one tweak: That George adopt “Edward” as his first name, at least during the show’s run, as it’s near impossible to take seriously a thespian floating around town as “Eddie.”
“Julius Caesar” runs from January 12-29 at the Troutt Theater at Belmont University in Nashville.
— Marc Sessler
(Photo courtesy: Jeff Frazier/The Nashville Shakespeare Festival)