On 3rd October, National Poetry Day, a group of Fifth Form English pupils set off for London’s Globe Theatre to see Julius Caesar, the play they are studying at English GCSE. Early arrival gave them time for lunch on the banks of the Thames, soaking up the atmosphere and basking in the unseasonably warm autumnal sunshine. The Globe had a wonderful energy, with actors engaging with the audience as though they were ‘the rabblement’ of ancient Rome.
As the afternoon sunshine illuminated the round, this fine performance shed fresh light on a darkly ambivalent play. The actors played the main three characters of Brutus, Cassius and Antony in such a way to engender sympathy, and a haunting, disharmonic, vocal death motif that accompanied Brutus, Cassius and Caesar’s deaths was extremely well performed. At the end of the show, the cast performed their traditional dance routine, which divided opinion: some thought that it ruined the sense of catharsis at the end of the drama, whilst others thought that it simply separated the actors from the characters.