Following his stunning RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (2013/14), Mike Poulton turns his pen to the thrilling world of Ancient Rome with a brand-new version of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero Trilogy. This epic event will be staged as six plays, presented in two performances, each with two intervals, and will be directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Taking on the title role of Cicero, we welcome back RSC Associate Artist Richard McCabe whose most recent work for the RSC was A Tender Thing (2012) and Twelfth Night (2009).
Cicero, the greatest orator of his age, devoted all his energy and cunning to preserve the rule of law, and defend Rome’s Republic against the predatory attacks of political rivals, discontented aristocrats, and would-be military dictators.
Imperium follows Cicero’s triumphs and disasters, through power struggles, civil wars, and personal highs and lows, told through the eyes of Tiro, his loyal secretary. A backstage view of Rome at its most bloody and brutal.
Part I: Conspirator
Cicero is elected consul by a unanimous vote of the Roman people. Catiline, his aristocratic rival, is furious in defeat and refuses to accept the results of the election. He swears a blood oath to destroy Cicero, murder the government, and take Rome by force. Behind the conspiracy, Cicero suspects, lurks Julius Caesar – young, ruthless, popular with the Roman mob and greedy for absolute power. As law and order begins to break down, who controls the mob controls Rome: Cicero, Catiline, Caesar or the charming but vicious playboy, Publius Clodius?
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