Five things to do this weekend: March 15-16
“The Ides of March in Union Square: The Death of Caesar at the Roman Forum” theatrical festival starting at 1 p.m. Saturday in Union Square Plaza 90 Union Square, Somerville.
Union Square has been the home of festivals honoring hipster beards and Marshmallow Fluff, so it’s not too strange that Saturday afternoon it becomes a Roman forum to mark the 2,058th anniversary of the Ides of March and the assassination of Julius Caesar – but, you know, in a family-friendly, fun way, culminating in a less-family-friendly 6 p.m. toga party at The Independent restaurant and pub, 75 Union Square.
Before that, to look at the historical event, Shakespeare’s interpretation of it and its enduring role in pop-cultural memory, Large and Elaborate Productions and the Somerville Arts Council bring together everything from “Roman engineering” crafts for kids, a “tailor shop” for toga-tying lessons, a tarot card reader and more. The schedule includes a 1:30 p.m. Roman numeral bee, 1:45 p.m. “Secret Political Meeting (that’s definitely not about killing Caesar),” 2 p.m. celebration of the Feast of Lupercal, 2:15 p.m. chariot races, 3 p.m. “Dogs of War” costume contest for dogs, 3:15 p.m. Roman-esque team trivia, 4 p.m. convening of the Senate (and, it’s reasonable to assume, an assassination) and 4:30 p.m. funeral orations. The last event before the part is a 5 p.m. gladiator tournament.
“During your time at the Forum, you’re also likely to witness conspiracy, political intrigue, dangerous ambition and wildly adapted Shakespeare as the tragedy of Julius Caesar unfolds on and off the Forum stage,” organizers say. “Spoiler alert: Caesar must die.”
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The MIT Lecture Series Committee continues to bring Oscar films to its showings. It screened “Gravity” in February, and while that movie landed with Best Director and a bunch of technical awards, here’s a movie with real gravity: a filmed adaptation of a nonfiction slave narrative that won Best Picture (as well as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley).
“Tales from the Hadron Rift 2!” live comedy sci-fi adventure at 8 p.m. Saturday at Comicazi, 407 Highland Ave., Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets are $6.77 online, or $8 with a service fee; or $10 at the door.
Richard Wentworth and Mike McQuilkin’s sci-fi comedy adventure podcast, “Hadron Gospel Hour,” goes live again, starring Dr. Francis “Oppenheimer” Valdini (played by Wentworth, series creator and co-writer), a self-absorbed genius who unwittingly tears a rift in the fabric of the multiverse with his creation, the dreaded Hadron Weapon, and his reluctant companion, IT guy Mike (series co-writer McQuilkin). They’re joined by host Kevin Harrington and guest standup comics Phoebe Angle, Rick Canavan and Matt Chaves to record sketches for the podcast’s second season and perform a new episode of the show.
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Puccini’s “Tosca” by the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave. Tickets are $25, or $20 for students and seniors.
This soap opera circa 1900 (recounting a tale from a century earlier) puts a torrid love affair between a singer and political activist against the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Italy, with torture, fatal double-crosses and suicide all in the mix.
This concert performance brings together the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Cambridge Community Chorus and New England Conservatory Children’s Chorus, led by soloists Rochelle Bard, soprano, as Floria Tosca; Ray Bauwens, tenor, as Cavaradossi; and David Murray, baritone, as Baron Scarpia. Featured singers are Jonathan Nussman, baritone, as Angelotti; Isaac Chute, tenor, as Sacristan/Sciarrone; John Stanton, tenor, as Spoletta; Jason Ryan, baritone, as the Jailer; and Alexander Tambunan as the Shepherd Boy. The performance is in Italian with projected English translations.
The creative team for the collaboration is orchestra Music Director Cynthia Woods, Community Chorus music director Michael Pfitzer and Children’s Chorus director Sarah Houghton. The concert is sponsored by Cambridge Savings Bank.
Slant of Light plays original folk with special guest Jenée Morgan Force at 9:30 p.m. Sunday at P.J. Ryan’s, 239 Holland St., Teele Square, Somerville
Folk trio Slant of Light says it drew on influences ranging from Tom Waits to Bon Iver for its upcoming third full-length album, “Fruition,” due for a vinyl album release this spring. But why wait? The band – M.E. Foley on guitar, Kevin Harvey on stand-up bass and Aaron Zak on banjo – plays two sets Sunday to get St. Patrick’s Day started early. Violinist Jenée Morgan Force, of Kingsley Flood, is their guest Sunday as well as on the album.