‘Julius Caesar’ is a play by William Shakespeare about the assassination of Caesar by a group of his senators.
Given that the play clearly demonstrates that the assassination was morally wrong, and that the conspirators did not prosper as a result of their actions, you might be tempted to think that anyone who knew the play well enough to perform the role of Mark Antony would know better than to assassinate someone.
And if you thought so, you’d be wrong. A famous actor and a member of a prominent family among theatre circles, John Wilkes Booth played Marc Antony while two of his brothers played Cassius and Brutus in a production of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ at The Winter Garden theatre on November 25, 1864, just four months before he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.
Obviously, his decision to shoot the president brought his acting career to a screeching halt. What a shame that he took more inspiration from Brutus than he did from Mark Anthony. Less violence and more brilliant rhetoric might have served us all well.
2 thoughts on “Tuesday Trivia: Who Played Mark Antony in an 1864 Production of ‘Julius Caesar’?”
I’d always heard he played Brutus. But no, that would have been too perfect. It’s also weird that his other brother who is actually named Junius Brutus isn’t playing Brutus. Were they trying to confuse people?
I can imagine Junius going “Why do I always have to be Brutus? I don’t wanna be Brutus… let me be someone else for a change!”