Julius Caesar: tragical-historical parallel / flashback

Think of a Shakespearean character who is a notorious party boy, a man-child who (while second-in-command) is still hanging out with the wrong crowd. An impressive speaker who’s not above using that skill to threaten his living enemies and eulogize his dead ones.

Know who he is?

Good.

Now think of his adversary. A too-serious, single-minded idealist, with a caring wife who is desperate to know his secrets, but a wife whose constancy is in enough question for him to keep things close to his vest. A man not above insulting an ally in conflict.

Know who he is, too?

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Win an Autographed (!) Copy of Shakespeare for Kids: Julius Caesar, signed by editor Brendan Kelso

A couple of days back, I reviewed Shakespeare for Kids: Julius Caesar, edited by Brendan P. Kelso. It’s a fine, fun piece of work, something you will want if you have kids, either personally or professionally (as a teacher).

So, how would you like a copy, autographed by Kelso?

Playing with Plays presents Shakespeare's Julius Caesar for Kids (edited by Brendan P. Kelso)
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for Kids (thanks to its editor Brendan P. Kelso providing a review copy!)

I think I can make that happen…

Here’s how:

Let me know about the best production/version/adaptation you’ve ever seen of this month’s play, Julius Caesar. Give me the basic W’s: when and where was it, who was in it, and–most important of all–what made it so good.

Drop it into the comment thread below… I’ll read ‘em all in the last podcast for Julius Caesar, and the first of the New Year on January 4, 2015. I’ll pick the best (in my own humble opinion), and if it’s yours, then you get the book!

Submission deadline is midnight, Wednesday, December 31… good luck (and win a great book)!

Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Five: Brutus (Redux)

As I’ve spent the last few days diving deep in Antony’s oration in Julius Caesar, paying close attention to clues in both the diction and meter of the lines, I began to wonder: What if you took Brutus’ speech and tried to break down the 27 lines of prose into verse lines of some rough approximation of iambic pentameter? What would happen?

A headache. That’s what.

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Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Four: Antony (sections 4-6 in detail)

For the past few days, the focus has been the dual and dueling funeral orations in Act Three, Scene Two of Julius Caesar. I started with Brutus’ oration, followed that up with an overview of Antony’s, then yesterday took a deeper dive into the first half of Antony’s masterful rhetoric.

Today, let’s finish up with the last half of the oration (sections four through six–speeches six through ten)…

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Review: Julius Caesar for Kids, edited by Brendan P. Kelso

OK, so you all know my educational background (or if you don’t, Reader’s Digest version: I taught high school English, Shakespeare, and Drama [among other things]) for 10 years a long time ago; plus, my wife still teaches elementary school). You know I love a good educational resource.

Well, a few months back, I found a kindred spirit on Twitter (honestly, I don’t remember who started following whom first… not that it matters), @shakespeare4kid, the moniker for Brendan P. Kelso, who has written a number of “Shakespeare for Kids” books (collections of play-lets) as well as other literature classics for his site, PlayingwithPlays.com. And when I checked out the site, I found that he has a book on our current (at that point, upcoming) play under discussion, Julius Caesar. So I asked him for one.

Brendan delivered. Just got the book a few days back.

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Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Three: Antony (sections 1-3 in detail)

Yesterday, we looked at Antony’s funeral oration in Act Three, Scene Two of Julius Caesar, presenting the text and a brief overview of what I see as the six sections of the oration (the ten speeches of more than a single line in the sequence, with most speeches comprising their own section, but two sections made up of three short consecutive speeches).

Today, let’s follow up with a deeper dive into the first half of the oration (sections one through three–speeches one through five)…

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Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part Two: Antony (the overview)

Yesterday, we started to look at the funeral orations that come hot on the heels of the assassination in Julius Caesar, beginning with Brutus.

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Julius Caesar Funeral Orations, Part One: Brutus

In the aftermath of the assassination of the titular Julius Caesar, there are back-to-back funeral speeches by Brutus and Antony. Over the next few entries, we’ll take a look at them both.

First up, Brutus.

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New Additions

If you’ve taken a look at the interface, you’ll have noticed two new items:

  • in the left-hand navigation,  just below our “partners” section, is the new Amazon widget. It has all the items in our brand new Amazon aStore… though to get to the store itself, you’ve got to click the text link just below the widget. If you’re going to buy any Shakespeare- (or play-under-discussion-) related stuff, why not click to it  from the Bill / Shakespeare Project. You’ll get what you need, and I get a little something.
  • in the right hand navigation, just below the Stitcher widget playing our latest podcast, is another new Amazon widget, allowing you to see, or rather listen to, what’s been in my headphones lately (which in early December of 2014 is the new live Gary Clark Jr., some vintage New Orleans funk from the Meters, and the soundtrack to the recent film Chef).

I plan to update both fairly frequently (the music at least once a month; the aStore when we have a new play to discuss or I’ve added something new to the mix).

Enjoy!

The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare, for the week ending Monday, December 1st, 2014

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes a couple of season announcements and the big news of the past few months–a First Folio found in a French library–which spawned a resurgence of the age-old questions: “was Shakespeare was a secret Catholic?” and “was Shakespeare gay?” PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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