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Shakespeare In The Park Performance Of Julius Caesar Is Raising Eyebrows In NYC

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Shakespeare In The Park Performance Of Julius Caesar Is Raising Eyebrows In NYC

An art organization based out of New York has been getting a large amount of attention after they performed Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” but used Trump look-alike Gregg Henry. The play was adapted to portray Caesar as a childish businessman who dressed well and had Blonde hair. Oddly enough, Caesar’s wife had a Slavic accent which makes the play clearly about the presidential family.

The production has gained popularity because, in the play, Roman senators speculate that Caesar has become power hungry. When they realize this, they come together and create a plan to assassinate him. The assassination is then performed on stage…a gruesome stabbing scene. That scene has caused an insane amount of uproar.

Several companies are backing out of supporting the theater organization including Delta Airlines and Bank of America. Delta fully backed out while Bank of America simply stopped supporting that play. Delta released the following statement regarding the play:

“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. Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of the Public Theater effective immediately.”

Bank of America released a similar statement:

“The Public Theater chose to present Julius Caesar in such 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.”

Laura Sheaffer, a fan of Shakespeare in the Park was one of the first to see the performance and described what she saw to Mediaite:

“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. 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 onstage murder of the president of the United States.”

Social media exploded in agreement with Sheaffer and when Breitbart News picked up the story it took off viral. Trump Jr. released a tweet after seeing these news articles. “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers,” the President’s son said. “Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”

The actor who played the look-a-like Trump pressed that the play was just making parallels to the political climate of today. The actor, Gregg Henry, told Backstage the following:
“vision of the show is very much to show us a warning that Shakespeare had as well that when a tyrant comes to power and the way you fight that tyrant, it’s very important how you then try to deal with the problem because if you don’t deal with the problem in a proper way, you can end up losing democracy for like, 2000 years.”

The director agreed with Henry’s statement saying:

“Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means. To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him.”

He then told the Associated Press the following:

“Anyone seeing our production of ‘Julius Caesar’ will realize it in no way advocates violence towards anyone.”

Of course, I always thought the message behind this play was no matter how much you hate your leaders don’t kill them.

Do you agree with the director? Or do you think this is another attempt at disrespecting the President of the United States? Or do you think this was a giant publicity stunt to get attention and make money? Let us know!

Credit: Washington Post | Backstage

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