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Let’s Play Brutus and Mark Anthony at the hustings

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There is a scene in Julius Caesar, which every schoolchild who has studied the play is likely to know. It is A3S2, in which Brutus and Mark Anthony give funeral orations to the Roman citizens. It is held up (or was in my school days) as showing a clear difference in the styles of Brutus and Anthony in approaching  and persuading the people.

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Brutus has come to explain why he has killed Caesar, and his appeal to the citizens, is rational and appeals to their brains – and successfully. He convinces them of the justice of his position.

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Mark Anthony comes second. He has to be very careful because he comes to an audience convinced that Caesar should be killed. Brutus has let him speak, and the citizens are suspicious of him. He uses all the orator’s arts – many of which you can see today in primaries in the USA, or with Britixh pliticians trying to move public opinion. He slowly moves the audience away from Brutus’ position, using deference, irony, emotional appeals, until by the end, the plebs are ready for revolt.

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Brutus gives a rational appeal for why Caesar had to die. Anthony makes emotional appeals to the plebs and his objective is emotional – revenge:

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“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,
Take thou what course thou wilt.”

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As I’ve said, every schoolchild learns this from their schoolmasters when they study Julius Caesar.

 

This “Let’s Play” shows you another way to see this through playing the two roles. The roles of Brutus and Anthony are given to the same actor, so they can feel the different styles of the characters as he plays their parts.

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But what do the other 4 players do, playing 1Pleb – 4Pleb. They have a different, equally interesting task. Their task is to make the “Crowd Animal” that is the plebs, come alive. The plebs are not only individuals, but also act as a group. And that is one of the things that makes them so vulnerable to Anthony’s emotional appeal.

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Of course, with only five players, a group can play the scene five times, each player reading each character in turn. This is learning through playing (and feeling) rather than studying. It’s also great fun. If you don’t like giving nearly all the lines to one player, you can always play A3S2 with one of our full castings below (or in the index):

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Cast list for 6 players
Cast list for 7 players
Cast list for 8 players
Cast list for 9 players
Cast list for 10 players
Cast list for 11 players
Cast list for 12 players

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To run this play-reading, using 5 players, 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.

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Act 3 Scene 2 casting:-

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After each player has beem allocated a role,  they should click on the link for the appropriate Player No., which will take them to A3S2 of the play, with their role(s) highlit in colour, in the scenes in which they appear.

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When everyone has selected their role, let the reading commence.

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If you want to understand better how to use our MFFEV5 CloudReader, read:

Enjoy,

‘The Director’,
Players-Shakespeare.com
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Play Index & Help

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