Cry Havoc tackles Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a play that has a tendency to be performed austerely with special attention to rhetoric and togas, and cuts it down to the meat. This Rome, represented by a Louisiana-esque bayou, is made of less sturdy stuff than marble, and power struggles between the populists and the lofty senators have almost broken the current system. Using dumbshow techniques, we add historical scenes and figures, including Pompey the Great, Octavian’s general Agrippa, Mark Antony’s foreknowledge of the assassination, and Caesar’s true last words. At its heart is the doomed efforts of Brutus and Cassius-brothers-in-law, co-conspirators, and eventual lovers-set against a revenge plot by the opportunistic Mark Antony and grieving heir Octavian. Come with us to the deathbed of the Roman Republic, but don’t expect it to go quietly.
DAMN IT. FRINGE FESTIVAL. guess im going to have to. get to 17th and broadway during late july. i cant believe theres a production of julius caesar where brutus and cassius are totally boning w/in thirty minutes of me.
Brutus’ lost volume is an object which Shakespeare employs both to slow the pace and to give dramatic statement to the proposition that Brutus is thoroughly fagged out.
T. Walter Herbert, ‘Shakespeare Announces a Ghost’ (1950)
yeah, well, after that scene with Cassius, I’m not surprised
i was just thinking about r&j because someone (i think phoenixgryffin?) made a post or reblogged a post w/ tags mentioning how infuriating it is to constantly have to defend r&j as a love story.
and this is only tangentially related, sorry. but like, personally, for me, r&j isn’t particularly compelling, though it’s definitely a romance and it’s definitely an accurate portrayal of a romance between two very very young people who have a lot of outside stress and opposition. it’s a beautiful play, even if our leads are young and often a little silly, and perhaps because of that, because there’s so much wasted potential. but for me, its utility comes from the ability to use the language, thematic elements, symbols, plot, etc. of this, the Ur Tragic Romance, to analyze the relationships of other couples in Shakespeare’s plays.
mostly I end up doing this because, you know, unless two characters hold up a sign saying “we are really fucking gay and into each other” no one will buy that there’s an actual relationship there, so taking a hetero love story and showing here, this and this is here, and its paralleled there, and this is the same author, can be really useful. especially since r&j was written pretty early in shakespeare’s career, which gives the idea that the echoing of themes or scenes or lines throughout other plays that originate in r&j is an intentional move more credence.
When Horatio says “Here’s yet some liquor left” in 5.2, that’s such a direct parallel to Juliet’s “What’s here? a cup, closed in my true love’s hand/ Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end: /O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop/To help me after?” Like, there is NO WAY to get around how clear and obvious a parallel there is.
And when Cassius kills himself after believing that Brutus has been defeated in battle, when really he ends up winning that fight, that’s too similar to Romeo killing himself after he sees Juliet “dead” to ignore. Yes yes, you could argue blah blah military shit, but also no, Cassius and Brutus echo clearly the chain of events in R&J 5.3.
Then there’s the symbolism of hands and the joining of hands as indicative of love and commitment, a symbol that doesn’t originate w/ Shakes (“hand in marriage,” etc. ) but which he uses a LOT with Rom Ants. We see it (first? I think? in his plays? THIS IS PROBABLY WRONG…..) with R&J with the whole “palm to palm is holy palmers kiss” thing, and we also see it with The Heteros when in The Tempest you have "Here’s my hand." // "And mine, with my heart in’t;" which is to say this furthers my Gay Agenda with "Give me your hand"//"And my heart too."
ANYWAY I could probably go on with stuff and parallels and being Gay Trash but. That’s how I Use R&J, which is probably not the best way to use it. Like a romance decoder ring.
and now cross is posting julius caesar 50 lines at a time in the chat window so
i hope you’re all happy with yourselves
i thought this post and the subsequent c/p happened on december 5th, but now looking at my blog the convo about jc started on december 2nd, which is also when the copy paste began. december 2nd thru december 6th never forget.
10:01:22 PM Odessa: megs
10:01:26 PM Odessa: i still cant believe
10:01:30 PM Odessa : u havent read julius caesar
10:01:33 PM megaparsecs: I KNOW
10:01:35 PM megaparsecs: cl ut che s
10:01:36 PM megaparsecs: head
10:01:41 PM megaparsecs: i . ……knwoWW
10:01:41 PM Odessa: u would be such a good brutus/cassius shipper
10:01:45 PM Odessa: :”(
10:01:49 PM Odessa: what if i just
10:01:50 PM megaparsecs: I KNOW I OWULD ITS MY DESTINY AND EVERYTHING
10:01:50 PM Odessa: like
10:01:59 PM Odessa: copy and pasted
10:02:02 PM Odessa: 50 lines at a time
10:02:05 PM Odessa: the entirety
10:02:06 PM megaparsecs: sdkfj
10:02:07 PM Odessa: of julius caesar
10:02:09 PM megaparsecs: the whole play
10:02:39 PM Odessa: ACT ISCENE I. Rome. A street.
Now i can’t totally claim that, if the c/p’ing of julius caesar had not occurred we wouldn’t have started dating, because i totally was like “hey baby come here often” in… my head at least…. before that but it was. a thing that there was Much Bonding. Escalation Occurred.
i will say that on dec 5th we got to act four tho.
what i’m trying to say here is i love my girlfriend and i love how much of a HECKING NERD she is how HIGH do u even have 2 BE
and also yes past meagan i am exceedingly happy w/ myself
just saw someone who watched the donmar production say that the dynamic b/t brutus and cassius in it is “unfortunately definitely a lifelong brotp” and i would challenge that. not that ive seen the donmar but you have to understand
every brutus/cassius is so gay. even the ones they tried really hard to make it not gay. even 70s production where everyone has anachronistic beards. they are always Gay with a capital G.
we talk about queering texts but u lit cannot unqueer julius caesar. its impossible. to take away the queerness of the interactions between brutus and cassius you would have to cut out whole speeches and chunks of scenes not to mention just straight up all of 1.2 and 4.3. you have to ignore or dismantle the essential arc of their relationship which goes over the course of the play from seduction to courtship to confession/consummation to commitment.
this started off as me trying to make funny hyperbole but i can’t make funny hyperbole about how much the entirety of the play is built upon a love story. i can’t . i want to but i cant. and i want to respect everyones readings of the play which might not include a reading of the two mains as Hella Hella Gay but also in my core i sort of still believe that no matter what choices the production makes or even how hard the production actively attempts to make it Not Gay its still just
its still just a love story
the joke is that nobody was steering the republic. they were all too gay