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 Starting Twelfth Night now

This is a play I have seen Three times.

  • Once at Chichester – with Patrick Stewart as Malvolio
  • Once at RSC – Stratford – with Richard Wilson and James Fleet
  • And in my local Theatre – Basingstoke Haymarket – (Cast of 7 so lots of doubling up)

Previous blogs see Archive page

So, let’s go to Illyria…

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Julius Caesar Act Five Scene 2 & 3 

Scene 2

Brutus orders all the troops to attack Octavius’ side. He hopes for a quick victory.

Scene 3

With Brutus’ troops attacking Octavius. Cassius is overrun. He asks Titinius to ride and see how the battle is going, whether the troops in the distance are his or the enemy. He rides off and Pindarus reports that he is captured. Cassius realises he is beaten, on his birthday too.

CASSIUS

This day I breathed first: time is come round,
And where I did begin, there shall I end;
My life is run his compass. 

He orders Pindarus to stab him, even with the sword that killed Caesar.

CASSIUS
O, coward that I am, to live so long,
To see my best friend ta’en before my face!

PINDARUS descends

Come hither, sirrah:
In Parthia did I take thee prisoner;
And then I swore thee, saving of thy life,
That whatsoever I did bid thee do,
Thou shouldst attempt it. Come now, keep thine oath;
Now be a freeman: and with this good sword,
That ran through Caesar’s bowels, search this bosom.
Stand not to answer: here, take thou the hilts;
And, when my face is cover’d, as ’tis now,
Guide thou the sword.

PINDARUS stabs him

Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that kill’d thee.

Dies

He dies with Caesar on his lips.

Titinius returns with Messala. Titinius was not captured as Cassius thought. They see the body on the ground.

MESSALA

Is not that he?

TITINIUS

No, this was he, Messala,
But Cassius is no more. O setting sun,
As in thy red rays thou dost sink to-night,
So in his red blood Cassius’ day is set;
The sun of Rome is set! Our day is gone;
Clouds, dews, and dangers come; our deeds are done!
Mistrust of my success hath done this deed.

MESSALA

Mistrust of good success hath done this deed.
O hateful error, melancholy’s child,
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not? O error, soon conceived,
Thou never comest unto a happy birth,
But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee

Titinius, alone gives Cassius a garland of victory and then kills himself with Cassius’ sword.

Enter Brutus, he mourns the death of Titinius and Cassius but vows to keep fighting.

At the RSC in 2007, we saw this play and the fake blood was in full force. When Titinius stabbed himself the blood spurted out.

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As with all Shakespeare plays there are no “intervals” marked and even the Act and Scene numbers are a recent addition.

Where do you take the interval in Julius Caesar. The obvious place is between three and four. Where have companies placed their intervals?

In Hamlet at the RSC with David Tennant, They took the Interval at the moment Hamlet sees Claudius praying and is about to stab him Act three Scene Three to tremendous effect.

HAMLET 
 73   Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
 74   And now I’ll do’t. (Raises Dagger —  BLACKOUT

Photo of David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in Hamlet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shakespearebt/5814337665/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Any other memorable interval ideas? Not just for Julius Caesar but any play you’ve seen

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Act three, Scene one

CASSIUS

………..How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown

I wonder if Shakespeare imagined that those words are still being spoke over four hundred years later

It’s the Ides of March (15th) and Caesar is at the Capitol. The Conspirators get ready for the bloody deed.  Decius Brutus asks Caesar to pardon his brother. Caesar answers

CAESAR

I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so. 

This is enough to kill him. The Conspirators stab him and we get the famous line of the play

CAESAR

Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar

 

Morte di Giulio Cesare ("Death of Julius ...

Image via Wikipedia

 

When I saw this at Stratford, this scene was incredible and very realistic.                “Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him”

Mark Antony enters and sees the bloody corpse of Caesar and breaks down.

ANTONY

O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Caesar’s death hour, nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.
I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age

Brutus convinces him that they mean him no harm. He will allow Antony to speak, after Brutus, to the public. Antony is left alone.

ANTONY

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,–
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue–
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial

Ate is the Goddess of Discord and Mischief.

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Photo of the first page of Julius Caesar from ...

Image via Wikipedia

JULIUS CAESAR

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE

The play “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” opens with comedy. The officers meet commoners in the street, one of whom makes puns on his trade as a “cobbler”

Second Commoner

A trade, sir, that, I hope, I may use with a safe
conscience; which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles.

The commoners are not working today in order to cheer home Caesar.

Marullus criticises the commoners for cheering Caesar, when before they cheered for Pompey. Caesar defeated Pompey in 48BC in a civil war.  

 Also mentioned is the Feast of Lupercal

Already doubts are voiced about Caesar’s ambition

Flavius

These growing feathers pluck’d from Caesar’s wing
Will make him fly an ordinary pitch,
Who else would soar above the view of men
And keep us all in servile fearfulness.

When I saw this play at the RSC – in the main theatre before they pulled it down, it opened with loud street musicians playing a fast paced rhythm to tremendous effect.

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