The depiction of Julius Caesar as a Trump-like figure in the Public Theater production of “Julius Caesar” has sparked outrage, the removal of sponsorship (funds) by Delta and Bank of America, and a vigorous defense. Below are the photographs from the production by Joan Marcus, and links to some articles about the controversy.
Public Theater’s response:
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) June 13, 2017
“Shakespeare used to be considered a defense against totalitarianism. How we flattered ourselves.”
Julius Caesar: Suddenly Controversial by Melissa Hillman
“Has no one read Julius Caesar? ..The play does not condone the murder of Caesar. While Caesar’s desire to be king, his arrogance, and his deafness to criticism all threaten democracy, murdering Caesar results in disaster…Here’s the paradox: Trump’s arrogance, desire to rule like a king, deafness to criticism, and complete lack of tolerance for anything other than adulation mirror Shakespeare’s Caesar, yet to say so openly is dangerous exactly because it is true– Trump will act like a king and use the power of his office and fame to retaliate. ”
Other Shakespeare theater companies are being attacked by people apparently mistaking them for the Public Theater.
And what did the critics think?
Jesse Green of the New York Times liked it, making it a critic’s pick.
The first half…is great, nasty fun, even if it’s preaching to the choir. To the extent there is a problem with the Trumpification of ‘Julius Caesar’…it arises in the second half…It is then that we are faced with the ways that Trump and Caesar never properly scanned, and an aftermath in which that confusion breeds more confusion…To be fair, this is a problem built into the play
Turning Caesar, an efficient leader, into a comic caricature makes little sense. It may be fun to watch but it also undermines the show’s powerful ambiguity
A very good production whose singular drawback is that it makes no sense