Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 2:00pm
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ethan McSweeny
American Shakespeare Center Study Guides are a valuable resource for educators at the Advanced Placement and collegiate level, providing a start-to-finish outline for exploring a play through the ASC’s methods of performance-based learning. Our mission is to help you recover the joy of Shakespeare with your students through both his wordcraft and his stagecraft. Your students will discover that Shakespeare uses their language to tell their stories — stories of love and hate, jealousy and betrayal, dysfunctional families and challenging friendships — as vital and vivid now as they were four hundred years ago. Our goal is to get teachers out of the mindset that they have to teach Shakespeare like a novel.
Stuff That Happens
Before the Play
- George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, part of ASC’s 2019 Summer: Festival Season.
- Caesar wins great victories in Gaul. His spoils of war enrich him and the city of Rome, making him wildly popular with the common people.
- Pompey’s political faction accuses Caesar of waging illegal war and demand that he come back to Rome to face trial.
- Caesar returns with an army.
- Caesar defeats Pompey, who flees to Egypt, where he is murdered.
During the Play
- Caesar arrives in Rome to great fanfare. A soothsayer warns him to “Beware the ides of March.”
- Brutus reveals to Cassius that he fears that the people will make Caesar a king, overturning the Republic. Casca reports to them that, during the celebration, Mark Antony offered Caesar a crown three times and Caesar’s refusal delighted the crowd.
- Caesar’s growing popularity spurs a conspiracy among the late Pompey’s followers and among others worried about Caesar’s power.
- Cassius tries to convert Brutus to the conspiracy.
- On a stormy night, the conspirators convince Brutus of their cause. Brutus’s wife, Portia, asks him to tell her what is troubling him.
- Caesar’s wife, Calphurnia, relates a bad dream and asks him to stay at home. A conspirator, Decius Brutus, reinterprets Calphurnia’s dream favorably and escorts Caesar to the Capitol.
- In the Capitol, one of the conspirators distracts Antony, a steadfast Caesar supporter, while the rest of the faction stab Caesar. Antony submits to the conspirators and obtains Brutus’s permission to speak at the funeral.
- After Brutus defends his actions to the crowd, Mark Antony incites the crowd against the conspirators, who flee Rome.
- Antony joins Octavius Caesar (Caesar’s nephew and acknowledged heir) and Lepidus to battle the conspirators.
- Ghostly visitations, battles, and bad judgement ensue.
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