It's nice to see corporate America, which usually capitulates to radicals as fast as
ice cream melts on a barbecue, for once stand up for a principle: that it's really not good to make a joke out of assassinating the president of the United States.
Yup, some cleverer-than-thou New York theater maven thought it would be oh-so-funny to turn Shakespeare's history play Julius Caesar, a complex and fascinating examination of the consequences to soul and spirit of murdering the famous general-turned-dictator on the Ides of March into a simplistic laugh-a-minute comedy routine centered around offing President Trump. Here's the story, from PJ Media's Charlie Martin:
The big theater news out of New York City this week has been the Free Shakespeare In The Park version of Julius Caesar, which has been more than a little controversial because Caesar is played as a man with a bad combover and an overlong tie, Calpurnia (Caesar's wife) as a runway model with a Slavic accent, and when Caesar is assassinated by the Senate, the deed is done by women and minorities.
Guess who they're making into Julius Caesar.
Yeah, you're right — that one's too easy.
Now, I'm sure the director and the producer, late at night after one drink (or toke) too many, thought this "Trump as Caesar" approach would be just great. I'm sure all their Upper West Side friends heard about it and assured them it was utterly, utterly brilliant.
Women and minorities killing Caesar? What happened to Brutus?
Turns out the even the reliably liberal New York Daily News went eeeewww. Here's Daily News theater critic Joe Dziemianowicz:
As much as The Public Theater's modern-dress production wants to make "Julius Caesar" into "Donald J. Trump," the play itself doesn't actually allow it. Yes, the production, directed by Public Theater head Oskar Eustis, uses the 45th President as a Caesar surrogate, but only a jumping-off place for this interpretation, which is novel and sensational and packs immediacy. But, alas, the production doesn't follow through with other references that would ring true or conjure current personalities. It can't; Shakespeare wrote a classic about a very different leader in the middle of a very different kind of power struggle.
Once Trump, er, Caesar is stabbed to death by the conspirators, the contemporary conceit gets muddled and dulled by a slog through a generic civil war and a clash between two different factions, neither of which resembles our current political parties.
And the New York Times noted that the Julius Trump show in Central Park was one more tired entry in the new wink-and-a-nod theatrical genre of sticking a yellow combover onto every stage villain these days.
Now, the Daily News reports, Delta Airlines and Bank of America, two corporate sponsors of Shakespeare in the Park, have pulled their financial support:
“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,” a company spokesman said in a statement….
"Bank of America supports art programs worldwide, including an 11-year partnership with The Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park,” a spokeswoman told the Daily News. “The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in a way that was intended to provoke and offend. Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”