Martedì, 21 Novembre, 2017

NYC Theater Features Execution of a Trump-Like Julius Caesar

Companies ends sponsorship over Trump killing scene in play Shakespeare scholar: Critics of Trump assassination in NYC production of Julius Caesar are missing a crucial point
Parmenio Sano | 19 Giugno, 2017, 06:49

"Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means", the play's director, Oskar Eustis said in a statement promoting the performance.

The National Endowment for the Arts said in a statement that while it had given the New York Shakespeare Festival $320,000 over the past four years, no NEA funds were awarded to support the Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar".

To proclaim a staged assassination of Julius Caesar spurs the loss of civility ("Trump-like "Julius Caesar" spurs loss of sponsors, civility", June 13) shows the Union-Tribune Editorial Board's shallow understanding of the objective of theater and its regrettable unfamiliarity with productions of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" throughout history.

The play is a part of The Public Theatre's free "Shakespeare in the Park" project and had been running for weeks before an "Inside Edition" report showed the famous assassination scene.

As Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt pointed out, the uproar over Julius Caesar of all plays is a bit confusing, since Shakespeare's Caesar isn't much of a Trumpian villain. Serious question, when does "art" become political speech & does that change things?' We understand and respect the right of our sponsors and supporters to allocate their funding in line with their own values.

To cut the long story short, neither the original play nor the Shakespeare in the park production, in any way, glorify violence or murder.


Donald Trump Jr. replied simply, "This" as he quoted a tweet from TV personality and political consultant Harlan Hill about the Public Theater's production, which portrays a Donald Trump-like dictator in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage. The backlash was swift and merciless, leading at least two sponsors of Shakespeare in the Park - Delta Airlines and Bank of America - to pull out, citing the depiction as offensive. "We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of the Public Theater effective immediately".

"Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone", the theater wrote in an emailed statement also available on its website.

Do people working at Delta and the Bank of America have any idea what the play is about or what it represents?

As news of the recent controversy took off across social media, many were swift to point out the stark contrast between the current uproar and the absence of public controversy in 2012. What the Public Theater's version allows for, is to pull in the audience, with its entrenched opinions about our real-life political theater, and force them to reinvent their conceptions and biases in the world of a political battle that has no clear good or evil, no heroes or villains.

The New York Times, which has sponsored Shakespeare in the Park for 20 years, is also continuing to back the program. But we are less confident that civil discourse can recover from this venomous era - and we fear how low it can go. On Broadway, Jon Jon Briones, who plays the sleazy Engineer in a revival of "Miss Saigon", makes a sarcastic reference to the Trump campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again".

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