IMPERIUM: THE CICERO PLAYS
by Mke Poulton
based on Robert Harris' Cicero Trilogy
directed by Gregory Doran
The Royal Shakespeare Company, Swan Theatre, through February 10, 2018
Following his stunning RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (2013/14), Mike Poulton turns his pen to the thrilling world of Ancient Rome with a brand-new version of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero Trilogy. This epic event will be staged as six plays, presented in two performances, each with two intervals, and will be directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Taking on the title role of Cicero, we welcome back RSC Associate Artist Richard McCabe whose most recent work for the RSC was A Tender Thing (2012) and Twelfth Night (2009).
Cicero, the greatest orator of his age, devoted all his energy and cunning to preserve the rule of law, and defend Rome's Republic against the predatory attacks of political rivals, discontented aristocrats, and would-be military dictators.
Imperium follows Cicero's triumphs and disasters, through power struggles, civil wars, and personal highs and lows, told through the eyes of Tiro, his loyal secretary. A backstage view of Rome at its most bloody and brutal.
IMPERIUM: PART I CONSPIRATOR AND IMPERIUM: PART II DICTATOR ARE RECIPIENTS OF AN EDGERTON FOUNDATION NEW PLAYS AWARD.
'A riveting epic for our time – The West Wing in sandals' —The Times
'One of the finest achievements of the Royal Shakespeare Company in recent years… an exhilarating and timely political drama… provides both an intriguing character study and a demonstration of politics in action' —Guardian
'The sheer scale of the enterprise inspires awe… Poulton distils the original trilogy with his customary combination of verbal dexterity, clear storytelling and hefty doses of leavening wit, [which] only serves to accentuate the brilliance of the undertaking… puts these dense historical epics onto the stage with all the panache and pace of a Netflix box set' —Whatsonstage.com
'The West Wing in blood-soaked togas… this turbulent story of bitter rivalries and criminal conspiracy is both timely and entertaining… an instructive and entertaining vision of one of history’s great self-made heavyweights' —Evening Standard
'Ambitious, intricate and compelling… an epic undertaking… Poulton’s adaptation expertly condenses and makes clear all the complex machinations and power plays, the conspiracies, shifting loyalties and betrayals. In his hands the intricate, multi-stranded narrative moves fluidly and is never less than engaging' —The Stage