Gossip at the Forum, Classroom Play Script
Lesson Plan for Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar
Gossip at the Forum - Classroom Play
1-2 class periods
Return to Gossip at the Forum Lesson Plan
CLASSROOM PLAY: GOSSIP AT THE FORUM
The Forum, Rome, March 15, 44 AD
CITIZEN 1: Did
you hear what Julius Caesar has done now? I canít believe it! He has declared
himself dictator of Rome for life!
CITIZEN 4: A
dictator? Thatís sort of like a king, isnít it? Nobody is going to allow a king
to ever rule Rome again.
CITIZEN 5: (short laugh) I imagine the Senate will have
something to say about that!
Theyíre not going to do anything.
Pompey will stop him. He always does.
Where have you been? Down at your country estates again? Pompey was killed last
month in Egypt.
(looking shocked) Oh no!
Thereís no one left to fight him.
CITIZEN 5: The
CASSIUS: Forget the Senate. He doesnít listen to the Senate.
Donít get mad, but Ö. (short pause)
JULIUS CAESAR really seems to care about the people. Would it be such a
bad thing if he did take over for a while? Youíve got to admit, Rome has some
Thatís the truth. You canít walk the street anymore. Crime is out of control.
CITIZEN 9: And
the money is no good. People are broke and out of work.
Romeís problems are getting worse, not better. Maybe itís not such a bad idea to
give CAESAR a shot at fixing things.
CITIZEN 4: Iím sure Caesar would agree with you. Thatís probably why heís making so many changes.
What kind of changes?
Look! Here he comes! Heís going to speak. Listen Ö.
JULIUS CAESAR: Citizens of Rome! I, Julius Caesar, declare myself dictator of Rome for life! The Republic is dead. It was merely a name. It wasnít working. I am the only one who can save Rome from more civil wars. Trust in me, citizens. I alone will save my beloved Rome! Hear me!
I decree the following:
- The calendar will now have 365 and one-quarter days.
- Coins will have my face on them. Those are the only coins safe to use.
- I decree that all slaves will be freed in the years ahead.
- I Ö. (voice fades as Caesar moves out of range, off stage)
CITIZEN 4: Did
you see? He was wearing a purple robe! The robe from the godís temple. Only
priests can wear purple.Ē
CITIZEN 8: Who does he think he is? A god?
CITIZEN 7: Iíd
heard he was freeing the slaves.
(angrily) He canít free the slaves. The provinces need them to grow food. And we
need food from the provinces.
CITIZEN 1: You
think itís mad to run around Rome screaming decrees? You wonít get an argument
CITIZEN 8: And
those statues of himself. Theyíre everywhere! I am so sick of seeing his ugly
CITIZEN 7: Whatís this new project of his?
CITIZEN 8: More statues, probably.
CITIZEN 9: And that new calendar. The old one was fine. Why
a new one? Oh, I know why. Because he wants to name a month after himself.
CITIZEN 2: Donít forget about his son. He wants to name a
month after him, too.
CITIZEN 6: He
really does think heís a god, doesnít he?
What makes me mad is that heís putting all his friends in positions of power.
Thatís not fair. Heís ruining everything.
Heís destroying the Republic. He has to be stopped. Julius Caesar is my
best friend. And I say stop him. Letís fix our problems, not destroy Rome.
Caesar is mad!
CITIZEN 9: He
only thinks about himself. His face on our coins. His statues everywhere. His
purple robes. His silly son. His stupid calendar.
CITIZEN 4: We
have to stop him!
CITIZEN 8: The
only way to stop him is to kill him.
If we kill him, everything would go back to the way it was.
(firmly) Then we kill him.
Count me in. But when?
Caesar has agreed to meet with the Senate finally on March 15th.
The meeting is at the Temple of Jupiter. That may be our only chance to
stop the madness.
(raise sword) Iíll be there.
ALL CITIZENS: (raise swords) And me!
The next day.
alleyway near the Forum, Rome, March 16, 44 AD
SOOTHSAYER: I tried to warn him. I told him: BEWARE THE
IDES OF MARCH. But he didnít
listen. Poor Julius.
LISTENER: (sounding confused) Sir, you had an idea in
No, no. The IDES of March, March 15th.
Beware the Ides of March, I told him. I knew, I knew.
LISTENER: His enemies got to him, I suppose.
SOOTHSAYER: Et Tu Brute?
LISTENER: (jerk nervously): What?
SOOTHSAYER: Et Tu Brute? It means: You too Brutus? Julius
Caesar thought Brutus was his friend. He was wrong.
But you were right. His enemies killed him.
LISTENER: Enough about Caesar. Iím so tired of hearing about that guy. What about me? What do you see in the future for me?
SOOTHSAYER: Choose your friends carefully, Cassius.
NARRATOR: Julius Caesar was dead. But things in Rome did not change as people had hoped they would. There was more trouble, more debt, and more problems. The only thing people wanted to know was .. who would take his place.