Julius Caesar is a great play for a play-reading. In fact it may be better as a play-reading than as a production. I have yet to see an outstanding production of Julius Caesar. (If you know of one, leave a comment telling me which it is and where I can get a copy.) Perhaps the play has too much action in it. People killing each other or falling on their swords or general mayhem, but the language is excellent.
The language seems to be different from what one might call the English plays. It smacks of Cicero or Livy’s History of the Roman Empire. It has a definite Roman feel.
Players-Shakespeare.com provides playreading castings for 10 to 12 playreaders, and in our view, the play-reading is likely to go best, if you have 12 players. You’ll find links to the different castings below:
There’s also a casting for 5 players, but this is only for a bit of fun with A3S2, where Brutus and Anthony give funeral orations for Caesar. In this version of the scene, Brutus and Anthony are played by one player, so that they experience the difference in the two characters’ approach to persuading the crowd. The four other characters play “The Plebs”, and can use this scene to build the “crowd animal”, where all the plebs become as one. Here’s a link to this casting:
(If you don’t like the idea of one player playing Brutus and Anthony, you can always play this scene with any of the other castings, where the two roles will be allocated to different players.)
The usual problem with play-reading castings is that it is difficult to avoid players talking to themselves in different roles. With Julius Caesar, the problem is different. There’s so many characters in the play, that players may end up with six or more characters to play. It becomes difficult to remember who all the different characters are.
Each player needs to select one of the following roles to play, and clicking on the link will take them to a script of the play which shows their role in Highlit Text (the lines for their character(s) are highlit in a colour; other speakers lines are shown in conventional black on white). If you prefer to read in Parts and Cues format, open the Configuration Window (click on the gear-wheel), switch on the radio button for “Parts and Cues”, and close the Configuration window by clicking on the gear-wheel again.
There’s a couple of points worth noting: there’s a special character called ‘All’ which is normally spoken by everyone; if one part is particularly long, we sometimes swap that role with one of the smaller roles at the interval so we hear two versions of the character.
Julius Caesar casting for 12:-
Please note that you may be playing more roles than are shown in the description (the word ‘etc’ lets you know this). Although you don’t know the other roles, their speeches will be highlit in your script (if you’re in Highlit Text) or will appear, with cues, (if you’re in Parts and Cues).
After each player has beem allocated a role, (we do it by lot) they should click on the link for the appropriate Player No., which will take them to A1S1 of the play, with their role(s) highlit in colour, in the scenes in which they appear.
When everyone has selected their role, let the reading commence.
When you’ve read the play, there’s a number of things you can do:
Gives us feedback on how your playreading went (good or bad) at Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page
Choose another piece for 2, 3, 4, or more players to read from: Playreadings for 2 players
Choose another play to read from: Playreadings of Complete Plays
If you want to understand better how to use our MFFEV5 CloudReader, read:
- Preparing Malvolio for Performance using MFFEV5 CloudReader and Parts and Cues