"What, Did Caesar Swoon?": Silent Caesar Scenes

Author: Courtney Lawton, Public Academy for Performing Arts, Albuquerque, NM

Editor: Greta Brasgalla, Folger National Teacher Corps and Curriculum Specialist at El Dorado High School, El Paso, TX

Common Core Anchor Standards: R.1, R.3, R.4, R.5, SL.1, SL.6

Text: Julius Caesar 1.2.225-308

Alternate Text: Hamlet 3.2.145-56

Lesson Overview

Students will create "silent scenes" of Caesar rejecting and then accepting the crown, in order to better understand the story and its significance.

Time: One 45-minute class period

Materials: 

What To Do

  1. Read 1.2.225-308 from Julius Caesar as a group. You may want to try having readers switch at each punctuation mark; if so, follow up by reading it again, switching readers when the speaker changes.

    1. Guiding Questions:
    2. What is happening in the scene Casca narrates?
    3. How do you think he feels about the scene he is describing?
    4. What kind of person do you think he is?
       
  2. After students seem comfortable with the passage, divide the class into groups of five. Ask each group to prepare a silent scene. Groups should provide roles for each of the students in the scene; they may want to consider having a written script and a narrator to read it as the others perform their actions. Students should add at least five movements and five tone words.
  3. Allow preparation time for the silent scenes; ensure that each student knows their role and that all groups have a chance to rehearse their scene.
  4. Have each group perform their silent scene for the other groups. After the performances, conclude with a discussion.

Assessment

  • After each group performs, the rest of the class completes an evaluation of the performance.
  • Possible questions include: is Casca a reliable source? Are Antony and Caesar planning something? Is Caesar faking his illness or his reluctance to take the crown? Why is this scene reported, rather than enacted? What was your favorite part of this group’s performance? How will this scene fit with the rest of the play?