Twelve years ago the family and I headed to Broadway to watch Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Denzel Washington played Brutus, Eamonn Walker was Marc Anthony, and William Sadler was the title character.
The production was staged as a Nazi-uniformed cast traipsed among the ruins while shooting machine guns, for a touch of poetic license. In the most memorable scene, Sadler, naked on a massage table and covered with a sheet, sat up and flashed the entire audience.
You can get flashed for free in NYC, so Sadler’s gesture didn’t add any insights to Shakespeare’s play, other than perhaps hint that Caesar had something in common with the average subway perv.
Poetic license now extends to a Trump-inspired Julius Caesar:
— Playbill (@playbill) May 30, 2017
The choice of Julius Caesar for the annual program is one dripping with subtext, chosen deliberately for the supposed parallels between the Roman dictator and Trump. A description of the play on The Public Theater’s website states that “Shakespeare’s political masterpiece has never felt more contemporary.”
It describes the Roman leader as “Magnetic, populist, irreverent,” and “bent on absolute power.” The description also notes that a “small band of patriots, devoted to the country’s democratic traditions, must decide how to oppose him.”
Not only does this Caesar do the full Monty, but blood gushes freely, too:
[Salem Media sales manager Laura] Sheaffer also said of the scene where the actor playing Trump/Caesar steps out of a bathtub stark naked, that it struck her as disrespectful and a “mockery of the office of the President.” Why, yes it is.
In the following scene, Trump/Caesar is attacked by the Senators and stabbed to death as an American flag hovers overhead, according to Sheaffer. “They had the full murder scene onstage, and blood was spewing everywhere out of his body. To be honest I thought it was shocking and distasteful,” Sheaffer continued.
The cognitive dissonance between these expressions of free speech while their supporters claim that Trump is a tyrant is nothing short of amazing.
They ought to try staging Julius Caesar in Havana with Raul Castro as the title character, and see what happens.
But that’s Cuba, the communist paradise where NYC’s mayor DeBlasio honeymooned while the noble savages starved. Manhattan elites will likely push for this production to move on to the Broadway stage where the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it” hoi polloi would have to spend big bucks to get schooled along with children on field trips.
Back in the early 2oth Century, the French came up with the Grand Guignol, which was acclaimed as avant-garde for being gross as it featured “the goriest, most twisted imaginings of the famed theater’s writers and its troupe members.”
The Grand Guignol could not compete with the real-life horrors unleashed during World War II. While fake blood gushes at Shakespeare in the Park, over in London real blood flows on the streets from the victims of Islamists.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.