Trump is Caesar in Play That Has Sponsors Running

Published June 12th, 2017 - 01:20 GMT
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our sponsors.” (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our sponsors.” (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Even William Shakespeare is ruffling Trumpian feathers.

Imagine a take on William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar that updated the setting to the modern day. In-place of the Roman Senate, you have Capitol Hill. Instead of Julius Caesar, you have President Donald Trump.

Well, that's just what the Public Theatre in New York did for the Shakespeare in the Park program, which stages Shakespeare in an open theatre in Central Park.

Their Caesar is a middle-aged man in a business suit, blondish hair styled backwards and an American flag pinned on his chest. He has a wife with a “Slavic accent.”

Fox News is unhappy with this. The play's narrative concerns an agonised, conflicted Julius Brutus who, for “the good of the Republic,” joins a plot from other politicians to assassinate Caesar. And assassinate him they do: stabbing him with knives and then washing their hands in his blood.

Which, in New York, Trump's home, meant witnessing the President's lookalike get skewered like...well, like Donald Trump at a roast.

By women and minorities, no less. Though none of them look like a middle-aged non-President with foppish hair and inconsistent track record.

This has led to some incredible, actually-quite-hilarious statements.

The first, from Fox News commentator Guy Benson, manages to sound like he's not so much critiquing the play's political timing as he is its artistic decisions:

"This is so incredibly in poor taste that I'm surprised they haven't cast Kathy Griffin in the production," said Guy Benson. Undoubtedly fearing that the play was too heavy-handed, he said the play was “not a subtle statement.”

Fox presenter Pete Hegseth pointed out that the production is partially taxpayer-funded through the National Endowment for the Arts and made “not a subtle statement” of his own when he said, “Is this not a responsibility for the public to say, 'if you can use our dollars to depict the assassination of the president, we're not going to stand for that?'"

Donald Trump Jr., never one to shy away from somehow bringing it back to taxes, Tweeted:

Governor Mike Huckabee pulled a Trump by “using” quotes “incorrectly”:

Sponsors Delta Airlines and Bank of America (a supporter for 11 years) pulled support for the Public Theater in response. The Delta Airlines statement is amazing if you read it out of context:

“No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer's Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines' values.”

The New York Times said the play “takes onstage Trump-trolling to a startling new level.” Which is funny, considering the kind of Trump-trolling (in the sense that Trump himself was trolling) on display during the 2016 election.

In a statement, Oskar Eustis, the show's director, said: "Anyone seeing our production of Julius Caesar will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare's play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic methods pay a terrible price and destroy their republic. For over 400 years, Shakespeare's play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park."

Caesar, for his part, displays more humour about this than Fox; he exits the play contemplating betrayal, streams of blood pouring out of his wounds and, seconds before shuffling off this mortal coil, manages to drop a pun.

Anyway, some food for thought:


Truly, nobody remembers Tiffany.

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