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Uproar Over Trumped-Up ‘Julius Caesar’ Ignores The Play’s Actual Meaning

By in Huffington Post on June 12, 2017

By Priscilla Frank

A 400-year-old play by an underground playwright named William Shakespeare is making headlines this week after The Public Theater’s recent production of “Julius Caesar” angered some viewers (and hence corporate sponsors) by portraying the Roman ruler with a curious likeness to President Donald Trump.

Spoiler alert: The Trump-Caesar resemblance is causing tension because, as any Shakespeare or “Mean Girls” devotee knows, Caesar is assassinated in the course of the play. Or, as Fox & Friends reported, “President Trump [is] brutally stabbed to death by women and minorities.”

Of course, Shakespeare did not pen his bloody death sequence with Trump in mind. Nevertheless, artistic director Oskar Eustis’ decision to stage the killing of a mercurial, blonde-haired ruler in an ill-fitting suit and too-long red tie has drawn criticism from some viewers, various right-wing media outlets and Donald Trump Jr.

I wonder how much of this “art” is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does “art” become political speech & does that change things? https://t.co/JfOmLLBJCn

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 11, 2017

Delta Airlines and Bank of America responded to the firestorm by withdrawing financial support from the production, which is currently running at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater as part of New York’s famed Shakespeare in the Park festival.

Delta released a statement condemning the performance’s “graphic staging,” describing the show’s artistic and creative direction as having “crossed the line on the standards of good taste.” A spokeswoman for Bank of America similarly lamented that “The Public Theater chose to present ‘Julius Caesar’ in a way that was intended to provoke and offend.” American Express also tweeted that the company does not “condone the interpretation of the Julius Caesar play” despite its […]    

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