Julius Caesar

Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids- 2011 Footage From Julius Caesar!

Over the course of 2 weeks, campers will work towards creating their very own Shakespeare production! Summer Camp runs from June 29- July 10, 2015, Monday-Friday at our headquarters in Toronto. Campers will learn to act, sing, improvise, construct costumes, and design sets, all leading up to a final performance for their friends and families! Check out some footage of our Summer Camp production of Julius Caesar from 2011!

For more information, or to register for camp, visit our Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids page!

Have a teen that is looking to step into the spotlight this summer too? Visit our Young Company for Teens page to find out more about our Summer training Program in stage and film performance!

Shakespeare Elections 2014

On October 27, 2014, voters from across Ontario will head to the polls to elect Mayors, Councillors, and Trustees. We have decided to have our own Shakespeare-themed election! Four candidates from Shakespeare’s plays are vying for your vote in the great Shakespeare election! Here are the profiles of the candidates:


Name: Cleopatra

Relevant experience: Ruled as the Queen of Egypt

Thoughts on transparency:

Cleopatra certainly has a history of hiding the truth, if only to protect her own interests and assets.

This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels I am possessed of. ’Tis exactly valued, Not petty things admitted. Where’s Seleucus?
SELEUCUS Here, madam.
CLEOPATRA This is my treasurer. Let him speak, my lord, Upon his peril, that I have reserved To myself nothing.Speak the truth, Seleucus.
SELEUCUS Madam, I had rather seal my lips Than to my peril speak that which is not.
CLEOPATRA What have I kept back?
SELEUCUS Enough to purchase what you have made known.
CAESAR Nay, blush not, Cleopatra. I approve Your wisdom in the deed.

Thoughts on the environment:

Cleopatra really only loves the earth as long as Antony is in it.

Noblest of men, woo’t die? Hast thou no care of me? Shall I abide In this dull world, which in thy absence is No better than a sty? O see, my women, The crown o’ th’ earth doth melt. My lord!

Thoughts on income and wealth: Cleopatra is obviously wealthy, but she seems to be generous with all of her riches.

(to SCARUS ) I’ll give thee, friend, An armor all of gold. It was a king’s.

CLEOPATRA (giving money) There’s gold for thee. Thou must not take my former sharpness ill. I will employ thee back again; I find thee Most fit for business. Go make thee ready; Our letters are prepared.

Why it might not work: Death due to a snake bite


Name: Henry IV

Relevant experience: Ruled as King of England

Thoughts on transparency: Everyone around King Henry IV was deceiving and secretly plotting against each other, and the King himself did not rise to the throne under the most noble circumstances, so he may be willing to call someone out on their deception, but he still has his own secrets.

KING You have deceived our trust And made us doff our easy robes of peace To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel. This is not well, my lord; this is not well.

Thoughts on the environment:
King Henry IV was very busy defending his kingdom, but he did manage to make note of the damage caused to the field in England by the battles that were happening.

KING No more the thirsty entrance of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood. Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields, Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs Of hostile paces.

Thoughts on income and wealth: As rich as the King is, he knows that if he is not well, he cannot enjoy the good things that happen to him, and compares it to wealthy people going to a feast with no appetite.

KING She either gives a stomach and no food–Such are the poor, in health—or else a feast And takes away the stomach—such are the rich, That have abundance and enjoy it not.

Why it might not work: Death due to illness


Name: Julius Caesar

Relevant experience: Ruled as Dictator of Rome

Thoughts on transparency: Though Caesar may need to be secretive in his work on the battlefield, he has no problem being honest with his colleagues when he decides to take the day off work.

DECIUS Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar.
I come to fetch you to the senate house.

CAESAR And you are come in very happy time
To bear my greeting to the senators
And tell them that I will not come today.
“Cannot” is false, and that I dare not, falser.
I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.

CALPHURNIA Say he is sick.

CAESAR Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far
To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?

Thoughts on the environment: When Antony read Caesar’s will after his death, it was revealed that Caesar (or possibly Antony) left his private gardens and orchards to the people, so Caesar did seem to be a fan of having and maintaining green space!

ANTONY Also, he’s left you all his walkways—in his private gardens and newly planted orchards—on this side of the Tiber River. He’s left them to you and to your heirs forever—public pleasures in which you will be able to stroll and relax. Here was a Caesar! When will there be another like him?

Thoughts on income and wealth: Caesar was born into a noble family, but became an incredibly wealthy man during his time in the army. During his rise to power, Caesar brought many beneficial economic reforms to Rome, which Antony was quick to point out after his death.

ANTONY He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Why it might not work: Death due to stabbing


Name: Macbeth

Relevant experience: Ruled as King of Scotland

Thoughts on transparency:
Macbeth found himself in the middle of a murder plot with his wife, and obviously no one could know about it, or it would ruin his chances of becoming King.

LADY MACBETH Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there. Go carry them and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.

Thoughts on the environment:
During a confrontation with the Weird Sisters, Macbeth makes it clear that he has no problem with them destroying the world, as long as they gave him the answers he wanted.

MACBETH I conjure you by that which you profess–
Howe’er you come to know it—answer me.
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches, though the yeasty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up,
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,
Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure
Of nature’s germens tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
To what I ask you.

Thoughts on income and wealth:
Macbeth was originally not thirsty for wealth, but certain outside influences caused changes in him that had negative consequences.

LADY MACBETH Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, ”
Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?

Why it might not work: Death due to Macduff

Now that we have the basic profiles for all of the candidates, it’s time to cast your vote!

Thanks for voting!

Now if you are old enough, make sure to head over to a real polling station and cast your vote today!

Where do you think these candidates would stand on transit issues? Leave a comment and let us know!

Mean Girls, Shakespeare Style

Today is the tenth anniversary of the iconic teen movie, Mean Girls’ release. In honor of this occasion, my blog post for today covers the similarities between Mean Girls and Julius Caesar. Before I begin my comparison here’s a direct reference to Julius Caesar in the movie to get you in the Mean Girls spirit:

In the Mean Girls segment shown in the video above, Plastics clique member Gretchen’s rant proves the similarity between the plot of Mean Girls and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Her rant is literally a direct response to the original plot of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which is significant because it reflects the power struggles that happen in The Plastics after Cady successfully destroys Regina’s powerful influence on her peers. Gretchen, through pretending to be Brutus is showing that her experiences make her able to identify with the plot of Julius Caesar. She pretends to be Brutus at a point in the movie when Cady successfully turns the Plastics against each other, which leads to the queen bee being kicked out of her own clique, which was the same fate as Caesar.

The leader of The Plastics, Regina George is a lot like Julius Caesar, because they are both tyrants and have a lot of influence and power over their peers. Regina George is correctly labeled “teen royalty” because she is the most popular girl in the school and the queen bee, therefore she’s the ruler of her own “kingdom”, her high school peers. Julius Caesar rules an entire kingdom as well, the kingdom of Rome. Cady is Brutus, because there are similarities between the relationships between Cady and Regina and Brutus and Caesar. Cady becomes friends with Regina and gains her trust. Brutus gains Caesar’s trust in the same way: by becoming his reliable right hand man. This trust leads to the same consequence: Cady and Brutus destroying the tyrant’s influence on their kingdom. There’s only one key difference: Brutus actually kills Caesar and Cady “kills” Regina in a metaphorical way, by making sure she no longer has anything that makes her the powerful queen bee she’s always been.

The turning point in both Mean Girls and Julius Caesar is identical: jealousy over the tyrant’s romantic fling that causes them to have a strong enough level of hatred towards the tyrant to act on their intentions to destroy their influence. In Mean Girls, when Regina is caught actively pursuing the main character Cady’s crush Aaron, which makes her interested in getting revenge on Regina. In Julius Caesar, it’s Caesar’s romantic fling with Cleopatra that makes Brutus jealous enough to kill Caesar.

Because the focus is on backstabbing the tyrant who victimized their subjects in both Mean Girls and Julius Caesar, there’s definitely a Shakespeare influence in Mean Girls. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one of Tina Fey’s influences was Shakespeare when she wrote the screenplay ten years ago. Happy Mean Girls Anniversary everyone! 

Have any other fetch similarities between Shakespeare plays and Mean Girls to share? Share them in the comments section below!

Celebrating Birthdays in Elizabethan England

On April 23, it will be the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, and will be celebrated all over the world! The question I had when I found out was the following: How would Shakespeare have celebrated his birthday when he was alive? Turns out most people didn’t celebrate their birthday in Shakespeare’s day, especially the poor, and there’s no indication that even monarchs celebrated their birthdays. There are very few records of birthdays being celebrated. Everyone had a saint associated with their birthday, and sometimes people would pay respects to that saint on their birthday.

When I researched birthdays in Elizabethan England, I found one mention of an Elizabethan birthday party, that of thirteen-year-old Mall Sidney, who, when she grew up, became a famous writer known as Lady Mary Wroth, Duchess of Pembroke. Lady Mary was the first woman to write a sustained work of prose fiction that came from a high-ranking family. There are records of her birthday being celebrated, however, no one knows for sure how Birthdays were celebrated in Elizabethan England.

In Shakespeare’s work, there are very few mentions of birthdays. Anthony and Cleopatra casually mentions that fact that it’s Cleopatra’s birthday, and they celebrate with a night of drinking, despite Cleopatra’s assumption that she’d be holding her birthday poor, meaning that she doesn’t expect anything at all. In Julius Caesar, there’s a casual reference to it being Cassius’ birthday shortly before he dies, although this is mentioned out of the blue.

What I never expected was how contemporary the popular beliefs regarding birthdays are. Since there is no clear answer in terms of how birthdays were celebrated in Shakespeare’s day, no one really knows how to celebrate theirs in a genuinely Shakespearean style!

How do you plan to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth? Feel free to share your way of celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday in the comment section!

Spotlight on Summer Camp: Kids’ Performances!

Summer is just around the corner, and with it our summer camps! Over the next few weeks, we will be uploading short video segments from our camps demonstrating the value of this summertime experience. Each video showcases a different aspect of our camp.

This week will be our 2011 Kids’ Camp performances of Julius Caesar and A Comedy of Errors!

This year the Kids’ Camp will focus on The Tempest, while our Young Company for Teens will focus on Macbeth.  It’s a great opportunity to learn from a professional actor, work behind the scenes on sets and costumes, build confidence and new friendships. For more information or to register, click here.

But the performance itself is just the tip of the iceberg. What they were up to behind the scenes? Tune in next week, or watch our summer videos on the Shakespeare In Action YouTube channel to find out! Click here.

Wordy…Thursday – “Livelong day”

Tonight’s post is a Wordy Wednesday in disguise. As much as I can pretend, Wordy Thursday just doesn’t have that same ring to it *sigh*. Anyway, onward to our phrase this week…Livelong Day! Meaning ‘whole’ or ‘entire’, livelong is an adjective that emphasizes a slow (or seemingly slow) and tedious passage of time. Ever have a day at work that seems to drag on forever? To work a livelong day is to work an entire day, or what feels like an entire day.

Shakespeare uses the phrase at the beginning of Julius Caesar. Two tribunes, Marullus and Flavius, converse with Roman citizens in the street. When a commoner tells them of his plans to celebrate Caesar’s triumph, Marullus reprimands him, saying that he does a disservice to Pompey by rejoicing in Caesar’s name:

O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb’d up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome.
(I. i. 38-44)

Marullus’s speech is expressive, as he tries to persuade the commoner to side with Pompey. His dialogue lifts up Pompey’s reign and importance over Caesar’s. And the phrase, ‘livelong day’, adds to the hyperbole of his speech.

The word’s etymology goes back to the Middle English,
lefe longe (dear long), where it originally had a more emotional connotation. The earliest timemention of the word can be found in several Middle English texts, such as The Simonie, a poem dating back to the 1300s:

“Mak a present to the den ther thu thenkest to dwelle,
And have leve longe i-nouh to serve the fend of helle…”

A modern use of the word is found in the iconic American folk song, ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad’ (circa 1894):

“I’ve been working on the railroad
All the live-long day.
I’ve been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away.”

The labour that went into building the U.S. railway system really did require long, grueling hours that went on for livelong days. More like livelong years!

~ by Vineeta

A Dictionary of True Etymologies – Adrian Room
Oxford English Dictionary – http://www.oed.com/
Open Source Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) – http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org
Trains Across The Continent: North American Railroad History – Rudolph Daniels
Image by Toni Verdú Carbó – http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-2283676770

What if Shakespeare…were a PIRATE?


[The Pirate’s Code]

I must obey (1). I drink the air before me (2). I’ll confine myself no finer than I am. These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too. An they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps (3). My commission is not to reason of the deed, but to do’t (4). When I was born: Never was waves nor wind more violent; and from the ladder-tackle washes off a canvas-climber (5).

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do (my) minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend (6). I am not such an ass, but I can keep my hand dry (7). My very walk should be a jig (8).

My stars shine darkly over me (9), (and yet) my bounty is as boundless as the sea (10), (upon which) my drink and good counsel will amend (11). Heigh, my hearts! Cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! Yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the master’s whistle (12).

Ships are but boards, sailors but men; there be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves and water-thieves (13). (But I am a) notable pirate (14). One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never (15).

Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe (16). On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves. Or lose our ventures (17). (We) must obey (18).

1) Twelfth Night, III. iv. 299
2) The Tempest, V. i. 102
3) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 129-131
4) Pericles, IV. i. 88-89
5) Pericles, IV. i. 63-66
6) Sonnet 60, 1-4
7) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 65-66
8) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 115
9) Twelfth Night, II. i. 2
10) Romeo and Juliet, II. ii. 133-134
11) Twelfth Night, I. v. 43-44
12) The Tempest, I. i. 9-12
13) The Merchant of Venice, I. iii. 19-21
14) Twelfth Night, V. i. 63
15) Much Ado About Nothing, II. iii. 46-47
16) Julius Caesar, IV. iii. 221
17) Julius Caesar, IV. iii. 228-229
18) Twelfth Night, III. iv. 299

(Shakespearrr re-arranged by Vineeta)