Friday, June 16, 2017


Perhaps you've heard about NYC's Public Theater production of Julius Caesar, which features a Caesar dressed as a Trump lookalike?  

This costuming gives Shakespeare's brutal killing scene  - always upsetting - added, um, political bite.  Obviously controversial.  Let's be clear though, the production does NOT celebrate this murder.  It's presented as a bad step in a tragic direction for the play's world.  

Pros and Cons...

Personally, I think trump costuming in combination with graphic stabbing was a bad idea - though fair game artistically - but it just seems too violent for an ugly and potentially violent time.  The recent shooting of baseball-playing Republicans (which the theater company couldn't anticipate) underlines the violence which we all feel simmering.  On the other hand, many people are genuinely worried about a slide into authoritarianism - and a Juilus Caesar / Trump helps clarify those issues.  Kinda a think-piece, this production.  Certainly folks are thinking about it.  But... a completely different quibble: doesn't the trump-look make the audience giggle at first appearance?  I'll have to reread the play because I can't remember if that would be appropriate or not.  I'd like to see the production, which is the only way to evaluate it.  

Artistic choices...

Anyway, that NYC company has had serious push back - including loss of some funding and a huge public fuss.

Believed public domain image - Julius Caesar


Our local Shakespeare company has gotten death and rape threats!
(They're producing one of the Bard's comedies and Quixote - not a toga in sight.)

Maybe it's not surprising that people capable of vile emails don't read theater programs carefully.  And, know what? writing vile emails is free speech and their right... just not the threats part.  (Threats get sent to the FBI.)  

So please support theater.  Even controversial theater.  Because free speech matters.  Art matters.

Read further articles HERE.  Or get a ticket to see the Bard locally HERE.

Shakespeare certainly is keeping up with today's politics isn't he?

ADDENDUM: I corrected the name of Shakespeare Dallas' production, just Quixote, no Don.

No comments:

Post a Comment