Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Not to praise him

I wanted my son to have the house to himself for a party. My daughter was on a school trip to London, so I went with H to see 'Julius Caesar' in Stratford, and stayed overnight in a hotel there. The next morning we saw a string quartet in the bar of the RSC. So all in all a pretty grown up weekend.

Julius Caesar was done in a spare style, on a bare stage. It was really the Cassius show because the actor (Finbar Lynch) was so good. I don't much like the last bit of this play, after the war starts, because it doesn't seem to have much structure to it, and the emotion seems to fritter away. I think that's because Shakespeare was constrained by the known sequence of historical events. So all in all, I wasn't elevated and thrilled by the play.

I was imagining, all through, how you could make a good modern political satire out of this play. If I had the power, I would set it in modern America, a city that was partly Washington, partly New York, with a George Bush impersonator playing Caesar - being offered the crown by Cheney, and waving it away with the back of his hand, expecting it to be re-presented. The soothsayer would be a televangelist, and Bush would switch the telly off - 'beware the ides of March' - click. Then later switch it on again, with a worried expression. Calpurnia would be like Nancy Reagan, consulting astrologers. The conspirators would be members of cabinet: the only people who could get through the White House security cordon, and they would use plastic blades (perhaps disguised as part of their laptops) which aren't detected by the body scans.

When Brutus gets anonymous messages 'through his Windows' they would be pop ups on his computer screen. There would be old political posters in the gutter 'Vote Pompey 08' with Al Gore's face.

The great storm would be Katrina, and the portents would be shown in the style that the bodies are discovered on 'Law and Order' - two people walking home, chatting, and a Lion runs past.

There is one problem with this plan. It would lose one whole dimension of the play, which is the sense of fallen greatness - that everyone loved Caesar and knew he had once been the best of them, who had gone bad.
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