In 1995 the L.A. Theatre Works, with the BBC, co-produced a radio play of JULIUS CAESAR. In the radio version of
Shakespeares JULIUS CAESAR, James Morrison played Titinius (a friend to Brutus and
Cassius) and The Cobbler.
The action begins in February, 44 BC Julius Caesar has just reentered Rome in triumph
after a victory in Spain over the sons of his old enemy, Pompey the Great. A spontaneous
celebration is interrupted and broken up by Flavius and Marullus, two political enemies of
Flavius questions a man on the street, "What trade art thou?"
The man responds, "A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which
is indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles."
Flavius scolds, "But wherefore art not in thy shop today? Why dost thou lead these
men about the streets?"
The Cobbler answers, "Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes, to get myself into more
work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar, and to rejoice in his triumph."
It soon becomes apparent from Flavious and Marullus words that there are powerful
and secret forces working against Caesar. The republican nobility of Rome wants to retain
Senate rule, not entertain the whims of one dictator, however popular he may be with the
Caesar then appears, attended by a train of friends and supporters. Caesars
authority and eminence are stressed in Cascas command for all present to remain
silent while Caesar speaks. And Antony adds, "When Caesar says Do this,
it is performed." But during the festivities, Caesar is warned by a Soothsayer to
"Beware the Ides of March." Ignoring this warning, Caesar leaves for the games
and races marking the celebration of the Feast of Lupercal.
After Caesars departure, only two men remain behind -- Marcus Brutus, a close
personal friend of Caesar, and Cassius, a longtime political foe of Caesar. Both men are
of aristocratic origin and see the end of their ancient privilege in Caesars
political reforms and conquests.
Envious of Caesars power and prestige, Cassius cleverly probes to discover where
Brutus deepest sympathies lie. As a man of the highest personal integrity, Brutus
opposes Caesars principles, despite his friendship for him. Cassius cautiously
inquires about Brutus feelings if a conspiracy were to unseat Caesar. He finds
Brutus not altogether against the notion; that is, Brutus shares "some aim" with
Cassius, but does not wish "to be any further moved." The two men part,
promising to meet again for further discussions.
Soon it is revealed that the conspiracy, which Cassius spoke of in veiled terms to Brutus,
is already a reality. Cassius has gathered together a group of disgruntled and discredited
aristocrats -- including Casca, recently converted by the manipulative Cassius who played
on the formers superstitious nature -- who are only too willing to assassinate Caesar. In
part to gain the support of the respectable element of Roman society, Cassius persuades
Brutus to head the conspiracy, and Brutus agrees to do so.
Plans are made at a secret meeting in Brutus orchard. Redress will be taken on the
day known as the "Ides of March," the fifteenth day of the month. Caesar is to
be murdered in the Senate chambers by the concealed daggers and swords of the assembled
The sun rises; it is the fateful Ides of March. The preceding night has been a strange one
-- wild, stormy, and full of unexplained sights and happenings throughout the city of
Rome. Caesars wife, Calpurnia, terrified by horrible nightmares, begs Caesar not to
go to the Capital, convinced that her dreams are portents of disaster.
By prearrangement, Brutus and the other conspirators arrive to accompany Caesar, hoping to
fend off any possible warnings until they have him totally in their power at the Senate.
Unaware that he is surrounded by assassins, Caesar goes with them.
Despite the conspirators best efforts; a warning is pressed into Caesars hand
on the very steps of the Capitol, but he refuse to read it. Wasting no further time, the
conspirators move into action. Purposely asking Caesar for a favor they know he will
refuse, they move closer, as if begging a favor. And then, reaching for their hidden
weapons they kill him -- the first stab by Casca -- before the shocked eyes of the
Senators and spectators.
Hearing of Caesars murder, Mark Antony, Caesars closest friend, begs
permission to speak at Caesars funeral. Brutus grants this permission, over the
objections of Cassius, and then delivers his own speech first, confident that his words
will convince the populace of the necessity for Caesars death.
After Brutus leaves, Antony begins to speak. The crowd has been swayed by Brutus
words, and it is an angry crowd that Antony addresses. Using every oratorical device
known, however, Antony turns the audience into a howling mob, screaming for the blood of
Alarmed by the furor caused by Antonys speech, the conspirators and their supporters
are forced to flee from Rome, and finally from Italy.
Antony -- together with Caesars young grandnephew and adopted son, Octavius, and a
wealthy banker, Lepidus -- gathers an army to pursue and destroy Caesars escaped
Months pass, during which the conspirators and their armies are pursued relentlessly into
the far reaches of Asia Minor. When finally they decide to stop at the town of Sardis,
Cassius and Brutus make plans to meet the forces of Antony, Octavius and Lepidus in one
final battle. Instead of holding to their well-prepared defensive positions, Brutus orders
an attack on Antonys camp on the plains of Philippi.
The battle rages hotly. At first, the conspirators seem to have the advantage, but in the
confusion, Cassius becomes mistakenly convinced that all is lost, and he kills himself.
Titinius relates, "Cassius is no more. O setting sun, as in thy red rays thou dost
sink tonight, so in his red blood Cassius day is set! The sun of Rome is set. Our
day is gone, clouds, dews, and dangers come; our deeds are done!" Unable to bear
Cassius death, Titinius kills himself, "See how I regarded Caius Cassius....
Come, Cassius sword, and find Titinius heart."
Leaderless, Cassius forces are quickly defeated, and Brutus finds himself fighting a
hopeless battle. Unable to face the prospect of humiliation and shame as a captive, he too
takes his own life.
As the play ends, Antony delivers a eulogy over Brutus body, calling him "the
noblest Roman of them all." Caesars murder has been avenged, order has been
restored, and, most important, the Roman Empire has been preserved. Synopsized from notes
by James E. Vickers, M.A., for Cliffs Notes, Inc.