What does Julius Caesar and Trump have in common? Well, according to The Public Theater, a lot.
Shakespeare in the Park, an annual summer program by The Public Theater that puts on plays by William Shakespeare in Central Park, kicked off May 23 with a performance of Julius Caesar.
But this rendition of Shakespeare’s tragedy comes with a twist — Caesar is played by a character that bears a striking resemblance to President Donald Trump.
According to Playbill, The Public Theater’s Oskar Eustis directed the Trump-inspired take on the classic political drama, which boasts famed stage actor John Douglas Thompson and House of Cards star Corey Stoll in its cast.
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 goes on to describe Julius/Trump as “magnetic, populist, irreverent,” and “bent on absolute power.”
They also note that a “small band of patriots, devoted to the country’s democratic traditions, must decide how to oppose him.”
If you read the play, you know how it goes down. Caesar ends up stabbed to death on the Senate floor.
Laura Sheaffer, a sales manager at Salem Media, attended the play.
“The actor playing Caesar was dressed in a business suit, with a royal blue tie, hanging a couple inches below the belt line, with reddish-blonde hair — just like Trump,” she said.
“I always go to Shakespeare in the park, but I wasn’t expecting to see this.”
Sheaffer said the script was pretty loyal to the original, and there was no explicit reference to the President, though the intention was “blatantly obvious”.
It’s also worth noting that in the scene where Caesar’s wife Calpurnia begs him to stay away from the Senate, the actress had a striking resemblance to the first lady, even spoke in a “Slavic accent.”
Sheaffer wasn’t too impressed with one scene however, one where Caesar/Trump steps out of the bathtub completely naked. She said it was disrespectful and a “mockery of the office of the President.”
As Trump is later stabbed to death, an American flag hovered overhead.
“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.
“If this had happened to any other president — even as recently as Barack Obama or George W. Bush — it would not have flown. People would have been horrified.
“I mean it was the on-stage murder of the president of the United States.”
It’s good to hear some people still have respect for Trump!
The play ends with Marc Anthony celebrating Brutus (one of the men who killed Caesar) for his bravery, claiming he saved Rome from Caesar’s rule.
“The message it sent was that if you don’t support the president, it’s ok to assassinate him. I don’t love President Trump, but he’s the president. You can’t assassinate him on a stage.”
We completely agree!
“Kathy Griffin got so much coverage for what she did, everyone was horrified, so why is no one horrified by this, which is essentially the murder of the President of the United States in front of 2,000 people?
“The performance was well done, and the actors did a good job. It was fascinating to see the parallels between the Trump administration and Caesar’s rule, but murdering the president on stage was just too far.”
What do you think?
— Playbill (@playbill) May 30, 2017