Monday, January 07, 2008

Cinna the Audio Play

This project allows you to create an original audio drama of a scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. You can create an original audio interpretation of the scene and distribute it in a legal and ethical way on the Internet. The project uses text from the public domain, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and music and sound effects with Creative Commons licenses.

I have included directions, the text of the scene, and links to audio files for music and sound effects. There are four parts to this project--the 1) The Overview, 2) The Scene, 3) The Production and 4) The Resources.

1) The Overview

For this project you will create an audio play from a scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. You must enact all of the voices and add music and sound effects. If you are working alone, you should decide how many Citizens there will be and create unique voices for each one. If you are working in a group, you can edit and increase the number of Citizens to accommodate your group.

At the end of the post is an example of sample of a student project.

2)The Scene

Read the following scene from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

It is the one that you will be turning into an audio play. Caesar has just been assassinated and the Roman citizens are rioting. There are very few stage directions in this scene. You must figure out and then act out in audio what is happening.

From Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 3

Enter CINNA the poet

I dreamt to-night that I did feast with Caesar,
And things unlucky charge my fantasy:
I have no will to wander forth of doors,
Yet something leads me forth.

Enter 8-12 Citizens (only 4 have speaking parts)

First Citizen
What is your name?

Second Citizen
Whither are you going?

Third Citizen
Where do you dwell?

Fourth Citizen
Are you a married man or a bachelor?

Second Citizen
Answer every man directly.

First Citizen
Ay, and briefly.

Fourth Citizen
Ay, and wisely.

Third Citizen
Ay, and truly, you were best.

What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I
dwell? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Then, to
answer every man directly and briefly, wisely and
truly: wisely I say, I am a bachelor.

Second Citizen
That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry:
you'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed; directly.

Directly, I am going to Caesar's funeral.

First Citizen
As a friend or an enemy?

As a friend.

Second Citizen
That matter is answered directly.

Fourth Citizen
For your dwelling,--briefly.

Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol.

Third Citizen
Your name, sir, truly.

Truly, my name is Cinna.

First Citizen
Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator.

I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet.

Fourth Citizen
Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.

I am not Cinna the conspirator.

Fourth Citizen
It is no matter, his name's Cinna; pluck but his
name out of his heart, and turn him going.

Third Citizen
Tear him, tear him! Come, brands ho! fire-brands:
to Brutus', to Cassius'; burn all: some to Decius'
house, and some to Caasca's; some to Ligarius': away, go!


3) The Production

To produce the audio play you will need to do the following steps. You need to:

a) ENACT THE PARTS--Create unique voices for each of the five characters with speaking parts (Cinna, First Citizen, Second Citizen, Third Citizen, and Fourth Citizen). Speak all of the lines with credibility and emotion. The “voice” you use for each character should be consistent for that character throughout the scene.

  • How will you make each character sound unique?
  • How will you change their voices?
  • How will you remember what voice goes with what character?
  • How can the audio editing software help with this part?

b) ADD BACKGROUND MUSIC--Add some background music and put it where it’s appropriate (the whole scene does not need it).

  • Will it be fast or slow? Modern or classic?
  • Will the music stay the same or change over time? When will the volume be low? When will it be loud? You decide.

c) ADD SOUND EFFECTS--Add sound effects (including “sounds” of citizens without speaking parts in the scene).

  • What kind of street is it? Noisy?
  • Quiet? What kinds of sounds can give the feeling of quiet?

d) CREATE A SINGLE FILE--Create a single mp3 file with all of these elements.

4) The Resources

If you want to search yourself for sounds, you should only use audio from the sites Creative Commons Mixter for music and the Free Sounds Project for sound effects. The audio from these sites are on sliding scales of copyright. The have unique licenses that allow you to use and distribute their work that are broader than standard copyright law.
At the end of your show you MUST briefly give credit to the source of your music and sound effect. Mention the name of each audio file, the creator, and the site where you got it.
I have included a zipped file with the 6 sound files below. Download them, listen to them, and begin creating your audio play.

Background Music

You can browse yourself and use music from the Creative Commons Mixter (
Sound Effects
You can search yourself and use sound effects from the Free Sound Project or use one of these audio files. I have downloaded them and put them in the accompanying zipped folder.