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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Caesar's will
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0225  Saturday, 14 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Mar 1998 10:26:34 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

[2]     From:   Karin Kross <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Mar 1998 10:19:57 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

[3]     From:   Andrea Vandeyck <
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        Date:   Saturday, 14 Mar 1998 04:53:57 PST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0221 Q: Caesar's will


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Mar 1998 10:26:34 EST
Subject: 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

Shakespeare knew from his reading of Plutarch that Antony did not
reading Caesar's will in the marketplace on the day of his death.
However, Shakespeare also knew that the contents of Caesar's will were
somewhat public: he had told the army about his nomination of Octavius
as his heir years prior. Shakespeare also knew that Calphurnia gave
Caesar's papers, and a good deal of money, into Antony's keeping ... and
that Antony created and issued orders in Caesar's name, claiming that
they had been found among his papers. Perhaps this cued the notion of
Antony going to Caesar's house and finding the will in his closet.
Antony certainly has a document (scroll) when he addresses the
plebeians, and it bears at least one seal. It might be useful for the
actor playing Antony to know that the great oration is a tissue of lies.
Caesar did not overcome the Nervii in summer. Nor was Antony with his
army. Nor could Antony know which rent in Caesar's "mantle" was made by
which conspirator, etc.

Steve Sohmer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karin Kross <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Mar 1998 10:19:57 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0221  Q: Caesar's will

> Does Antony have the real will with him as he talks to the
> crowd, or is he just waving a blank piece of paper?

I'm directing a production of "Caesar" at the moment (opens next
Thursday...yikes.); we decided (for the purposes of our production, at
any rate) that Antony is simply waving around a blank sheet of paper.
Think Joe McCarthy's "list of known Communists."  (In fact, after the
crowd goes roaring off at the end of III,2, we have another character
pick up the "will"  from the ground, look at it, and snicker briefly
before Antony snatches it out of her hands.)

Our reasoning:

1) We weren't convinced that Antony has time, at any point in all the
chaos of the assassination, to go to Caesar's house and grab the will.

2) The fact that in IV,1, he sends Lepidus to get the will.  Why should
he have to do so if he already had it on him?

3) It fits in with our Antony's interpretation of the character. He is
fairly ruthless, and not averse to trickery.

However, the overall interpretation that we're taking on this production
is fairly bleak and cynical.  Depending on others' interpretations of
the play as a whole, it might make more sense to play Antony as actually
*having* the will.

-Karin Kross
 
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrea Vandeyck <
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Date:           Saturday, 14 Mar 1998 04:53:57 PST
Subject: 9.0221 Q: Caesar's will
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0221 Q: Caesar's will

In response to Caesar's will, no I don't believe that Antony really has
it.  In a recent production at the Birmingham Rep, Antony produced the
will and seemed to read it before turning it over so the audience could
see it was blank.  This was a stunning moment in the production and is a
wonderful interpretation.  After all, would Caesar really have
bequeathed things as Antony reads in the will?  It is more important to
bring out that Antony is politically manipulating the crowd and
situation for his own ends.
 

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