Skip to main content

Julius Caesar: Let's just change the title to 'Brutus'

I saw Julius Caesar last night with my delightful playwright friend Skye.


So I went into this knowing nothing about the shape of the play. So when Caesar gets stabbed in Act I (surpriiiise!), I was all "Whoa. What happens now?" Especially since I saw Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and in THAT, after the boring Rex Harrison-as-Caesar part is over, she has awesome sexytimes with Marc Antony. But she's not even in this play. Boo.

Instead, Antony's all "DAMN YOU BRUTUS" and tries to exact vengeance upon all the Caesar stabby dudes, but when they're all dead because Octavius shot most of them (it was updated to modern times), he's like "DAMNIT Octavius. Brutus was AWESOME. He was awesome and you're a dick." And I'm like "Omg Antony make up your mind, because you just spent all this time asking people to lend you their ears and assorted body parts to make them hate Brutus and now you want to make out with him but he's dead so your timing is terrible."

Chicago Shakespeare Theater did a kickass production of this play. It's modern. They had a banner for re-electing Caesar, with a website address (look at you!). It's not their fault Shakespeare basically gave up in Act II and was like "Fuck it, just -- just -- everyone dies." There were some pretty awesome sequences involving a set with an overturned car, and smoke and people running around avoiding gunfire, and soldiers RAPPELLING FROM THE CEILING, which was the coolest. 

But yeah, Act I is like "Intelligence! Character!" and Act II is like "Boom! Pow! Bam!"

I like how Shakespeare does one of those Johnson/Boswell, Pale Fire-type things where it's like "This is about X character." But awwwwwwwww no it's not. Because Julius Caesar is alllll about Brutus. Caesar's barely IN it. Did you know that? I did not. And in Act I of this production, Brutus and Cassius were walkin' around wearing suits and looking super-fine while discussing how Rome cannot maintain its identity if Caesar is crowned, and I was all "Yeah! I side with you, fine-looking men!" Liberty, freedom and enfranchisement! (enfranchisement? that's kind of a wordfail, Shakespeare)

Julius Caesar:

Act I is also the best because Brutus's wife Portia gets some badass speeches. EXAMPLE:

Is it excepted I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

DWELL I BUT IN THE SUBURBS OF YOUR GOOD PLEASURE. I think I hit Skye in excitement over that line. That is damn good writing, Shakespeare. (Shakespeare: "Hey, thanks." me: "No probs")

Anyway yeah, so Brutus and Portia were super-hot and awesome in their basically one scene together, and I was all "I will captain this ship" but then in Act II -- when they're at war with Antony -- Cassius and Brutus are talking, and Brutus totes caj-like says "Portia is dead." AND THEN THEY MOVE ON. Later, some messenger comes in and says Portia is dead, which is....weird, because they already...said that. But okay.

After Portia dies, it's even more about Cassius and Brutus, and...I get it, guys. I get it.

As with all Shakespeare, I phased out during some of the speeches, but as Skye said "As long as you come back for the end, you're ok." I was unexpectedly and highly entertained/moved/generally made to feel feelings during this play. So good job, Shakes. Too bad your revolution thing didn't work out, Roman guys, but instead resulted in this:

You tried.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.

What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…