How has the mob been represented and staged?
A lot of the action in Julius Caesar happens in public places and the people of Rome play an important role. When the crowd forms an angry mob after Caesar’s funeral, they go on a rampage of anarchy and revenge, murdering the poet Cinna because he has the same name as one of the Conspirators.
Take a look at the Things to Consider here and investigate the different ways we’ve staged the mob and Cinna’s death in past productions in this picture gallery. For a further look at Cinna in performance, you can also watch a film of 'I, Cinna’, a play written by Tim Crouch about Cinna the poet’s story.
As you look through the images and photographs from past productions of Julius Caesar, think about:
- What choices have been made by the designer to mark out the mob from the more high-status characters. Do they work as a group of individuals or is there something visually that unites them as citizens? In the 2012 production they carry signs like protesters and in the 2004 production, they murder Cinna and hang a sign around his neck with his name on. They murder Cinna knowing he is not the right man so, by hanging his name around his neck, he becomes symbolic of what they hate. How else have they been shown to be a force in their own right rather than just a large crowd?
- How the mob are controlled. Both Antony and Brutus are able to get the mob to agree with them when they speak at Caesar’s funeral, which suggests they change their minds quite easily. Why do you think the power of the mob is so powerful and important in Julius Caesar? What is Shakespeare reminding the audience of? Why do you think he includes Cinna’s murder? Which of the images gives you the strongest sense of the mob’s power and unpredictability and why?
Where would you choose to set a production of Julius Caesar and why? How would you stage Cinna’s death at the hands of the mob?