Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Theater refuses to buckle after 'Caesar' Trump criticism"

Via Drudge:  The Public Theater is refusing to back down after backlash over its production of "Julius Caesar" that portrays a Donald Trump-like dictator in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage.

Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of the Public's version of the play, but in a statement Monday the theater said it stands behind the production. It noted its staging has "provoked heated discussion" but "such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy."

Other defenders included Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, who wrote letters to the heads of Delta and Bank of America, arguing that dropping their support "sends the wrong message." He writes: "Art matters. The First Amendment matters. Expression matters." He enclosed copies of the play with the letters.

"I hope you enjoy it — it is a classic, in any age," he wrote.

17 comments:

ricpic said...

How come Stringer didn't add, "Assassination matters?"

Amartel said...

Totally coincidentally, many theaters and festivals across the US suddenly decided that a production of JC was the thing for 2017. This is just the one getting the most attention.

The collective hive mind in action is neither original nor creative.

edutcher said...

It's early yet.

Let's see how many sponsors bail as more of this happens.

(and it will)

Amartel said...

Apparently (this is from a second hand report; I haven't seen the show), Trump is "assassinated" by black senators, introducing a racial element into the production which I'm sure is designed to provide for a vicarious "feel good" thrill for that particular audience (mostly white progressives) - allowing their imagined black man to get his revenge on their imagined racist in chief. Or, IOW, whitey gets the black man to do his dirty work. Typical "progressive" Democrats!

Amartel said...

Also, doesn't Trump Caesar kind of look a lot like Algore? (Pre weight gain/carbon credit bloat.)

Jim in St Louis said...

But Ceasar is the tragic hero! He is the innocent and honest politician who is assassinated by the evil Senators who fear losing power, money, and influence. It is almost as if the director did not even understand the meaning of the play.


Locally we saw A Winter’s Tale in Forrest Park. (Loved it) A funny little show- madness and murder, lots of injustice, but has a bizarre happy ending. Oh and the most famous stage direction ever: “exeunt, chased by a bear”

Amartel said...

In the play, Caesar only potentially threatened to paint outside the lines of that particular political system once he had the popular backing due to his military victories. He supposedly refuses the crown three times. Brutus is the main character, title notwithstanding. Some of the other assassins are clearly self-serving but Brutus is morally conflicted and ends up in the conspiracy for reasons that are not related to personal ambition. Then all the conspirators buy it in the end, of course.

I wonder how they handle that in the play. Mobbed by deplorables dressed in antifa mufti?

Lem said...

I believe this kind of thing strengthens what Scott Adams calls 'the Trump brand.'

Because whatever side you're on politically, for the most part people don't go around saying they wish people on the other side would be killed. I mean I don't know of anybody who talks in front of me like that. Maybe a small percentage wish it, but again... so what happens when there's a legitimate criticism of Trump to be aired? The instinct could be to tune it out. There they go again.

Amartel said...

or "exeunt, chased by a bear."

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I like Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Caesar, while not a hero, is hardly the main focus of the play or antigonist. And the play is more about manipulating the mob and be careful what you wish for: Caesar's plotters ended up turing the supposed tyrant into a god.

I put up the clip at my place of Charlton Heston as Marc Antony turning the mob with his 'friends, Romans, countrymen' speech.

I like adaptions of Shakespeare. What makes this particular one problematic is it involves an assignation of Trump when he is an acting president. It is not a free speech issue (of course they can do it) it is a question of whether they should do it. If this play were done parodying Obamas, there would be howls of outrage from the left. Their hypocrisy is rampant.

edutcher said...

Jim in St Louis said...

But Ceasar is the tragic hero! He is the innocent and honest politician who is assassinated by the evil Senators who fear losing power, money, and influence. It is almost as if the director did not even understand the meaning of the play.

IIRC Julie wanted to be king, only not in name. And this is a fairly accurate depiction of the events.

YMMV

If you've ever seen Mankiewicz' turn at "Cleopatra", the emphasis on Caesar's ultimate motivation is a lot more explicit.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

If this play were done parodying Obamas, there would be howls of outrage from the left. Their hypocrisy is rampant

'Zackly. There are a few trolls saying something like this was done in '12, but I don't recall it.

Some dolt also said Ted Nugent fantasized something like this, but I think we'd all remember.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

ed, hmmmm (from your wikipedia link):

1864: Junius, Jr., Edwin and John Wilkes Booth (later the assassin of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln) made the only appearance onstage together in a benefit performance of Julius Caesar on 25 November 1864, at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. Junius, Jr. played Cassius, Edwin played Brutus and John Wilkes played Mark Antony. This landmark production raised funds to erect a statue of Shakespeare in Central Park, which remains to this day. It is worth noting that John Wilkes had wanted to play Brutus but lost the role to his brother, who was a better actor. The play was declared the most astounding of performances with Edwin playing the star lead of Brutus. This enraged John to such ends that he swore to make his own name famous. He joined a secret organization and plotted to kill the president. And so he did, and after shooting Abraham Lincoln he jumped onto the stage and shouted the line "Sic semper tyrannis!" Latin phrase which translates to "thus always to tyrants" but is most commonly interpreted as "death to tyrants", a phrase associated with the death of Caesar.

edutcher said...

I know.

ricpic said...

As Evi points out Julius Caesar is a very interesting play. I took a drama course a million years ago and the only thing I retain from it is the instructor's pointing out that Julius Caesar has its climax, obviously the assassination itself, very early in the play. Which is quite unusual. Most plays climax at or very near their end. Shakespeare gave himself the difficult task of engaging the audience after the action has passed.

Amartel said...

John Wilkes Booth sounds like a SJW.
-Not as good even as own brother
-Free floating resentment and entitlement
-Need for attention
-Ridiculous plan to gain fame
-Coopting other peoples' lines
-In Latin because it sounds more intullekshal that way
-Terrible destruction and harm to others followed by ignominious running and hiding

edutcher said...

Booth was a NeverTrumper and then a Resistor.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I meant assassination. My computer keeps changing the word. I hate that. I want to assassinate my computer.