August 30, 2007
ASPEN It’s unlikely the Hudson Reed Ensemble hasn’t ever gotten this much press.Even NBC called after a thespian accidentally stabbed himself in a production of “Julius Caesar” this week.Ensemble founder Kent Reed was playing Brutus on Wednesday evening when, he said, he wound up a little too far and ended up stabbing himself with the knife instead of Caesar.
“I stabbed myself, pulled the knife out and just kept on,” he said. “It bled pretty bad. I could feel this blood running down into my boot. My whole pant leg was turning red. I thought I might faint. There was nothing I could do. I could see people saying, ‘Is that real? Why is he bleeding and Caesar isn’t?'”The show stopped, and Reed was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital. He said the pain was like a stiff charley horse, but he was ready to act again by Thursday. At least 50 people showed up for the second take of “Julius Caesar” on Thursday in the library plaza, when the show went on, without a knife this time. “I wanted to see the end of the play,” said Lees Pearson of Aspen, who came back Thursday after witnessing the ill-fated Wednesday performance. “Accidents happen. You weren’t sure if they had rewritten the lines. Until that point, I thought it was great.”
After weekly free performances of “Julius Caesar” in the park during the month of August, Reed said he was glad the play was getting some more publicity. Wednesday evening, which was to be the finale, was the best-attended of the events, with more than 100 people watching. Reed said he didn’t want to let people down and had a difficult time letting go of the play even as his pants were turning red and he worried about fainting. “I really felt bad – we had the biggest crowd we’ve ever had for our Shakespeare series,” he said. “My heart was hurting worse than my leg because I hated to let these people down and let the cast down.”The cast consists entirely of locals, though many have been involved in theater elsewhere. Part of the mission of the Hudson Reed Ensemble is to nurture local talent.
Though Thursday’s repeat was the final performance of “Julius Caesar,” Reed said there will be some readings of local playwrights during the fall and a main production at the end of November. While the actors ditched the knife Thursday, perhaps they should make sure to bring one in order to get some more press. Unfortunately, Reed had to tell NBC there was no footage of the stabbing but said he wished someone had been filming. Joel Stonington’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org