Julius Caesar: Where subtlety and nuance get stabbed in the back

Julius Caesar

Photo from Playbill Magazine

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar currently running in New York.

Sure you have!

Instead of ancient Rome, the play is set in modern America. And old Julius Caesar is the President who looks surprisingly like Donald Trump.

It’s about as subtle as a brick in the face.

But having spent half of my adult life working in the theater, this is about as understated as theater people can possibly be.

Nuance and understatement aren’t exactly their forte.

The last time they managed oblique commentary on modern life was when Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible” back in 1953.

And it’s been downhill ever since.

Frankly I’m a bit surprised they didn’t just rename the play “Julius Trump.”

Leftists are hateful and churlish by nature.

And hateful, churlish people couldn’t be subtle if their lives depended on it.

Naturally the growing outrage has prompted some corporate sponsors of this revenge snuff porn production to withdraw.

Arts patronage is a boon to business only if it doesn’t hurt the bottom line.

In fact, the news media seem more outraged and horrified by sponsors pulling out than they are a depiction of Donald Trump being assassinated on stage in front of a live audience.

Sure, we could play the “What if they portrayed Julius Caesar as a scrawny black guy in Mom jeans?” game. Couldn’t we?

Had Julius Caesar mirrored Barack Obama, the news media would have been apoplectic.

The NAACP would be demanding a DOJ civil rights investigation.

And the Macbeth witches on the View would be rending their garments and gnashing their teeth.

But why bother going down that road?

The truth is, simulated assassinations of Presidents are only in vogue when a Republican is in the White House. It’s always been that way.

Mostly because those of us on the right would never stoop so low.

And yet the same people who have been trying to suppress the free speech of everyone with whom they disagree are now working overtime to tell us that murdering a Trumpian Caesar is free speech.

Some of the defenses, however, are just, well, odd.

This morning, I happened across this tweet from Twitter’s Troll-With-Training-Wheels herself Chelsea Clinton.

Oh, I see.

Since George Washington hosted Julius Caesar, it’s okay to portray the title character as a sitting American President?

Talk about a non-sequitur.

Honestly, one of these days Chelsea is going to troll successfully.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

Now, I spent nearly a decade as a theater director before I left to get my MFA in Playwriting at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.

So how about I direct a production of Julius Caesar with a woman playing the title role.

And not just any woman.

We’ll cast a chunky, near-septuagenarian bottle-blonde in a pantsuit.

Brutus can be played by a loud, curmudgeonly old fart with flyaway hair and a penchant for socialism and multiple homes.

You think Chelsea would bravely defend me?

After all, George Washington hosted a production of Julius Caesar in 1790.

No. She wouldn’t defend me.

But of course I wouldn’t do it.

William Shakespeare didn’t write his plays just to satisfy my own personal dislike of Hillary Clinton.

Besides, I’m not a naval-gazing Leftist. Not to mention, I possess a common-sense filter.

And that is something Leftists lack.

The truth is, they wouldn’t want one even if we paid for the upgrade.

Like squalling infants, they can’t see beyond their own immediate wants and needs. And when they don’t get what they want, they pitch a thermonuclear-sized tantrum.

As a result, the Left lifts its leg and craps on everything.

Nothing is safe from their blind hatred and insufferable sanctimony.

Not football, awards shows, farmers’ markets, family-owned bakeries.

Not even Shakespeare.

Their obsession with Donald Trump has turned these Liberal cranks into Lili Taylor’s character Corey Flood from the movie “Say Anything.”

Everything they do, everything they say, everything they write is about Trump.

To borrow from Corey, he’s invaded their soul.

But instead of singing, “Joe lies. Joe lies when he cries,” they turn Julius Caesar into Donald Trump and stab him to death night after night.

They’re self-absorbed, petulant children who can’t handle rejection or loss.

And when America rejected their brand of naval-gazing identity politics, they lost all reason.

What were you expecting from emotional cripples like these?

Art? Understated brilliance? Nuance and subtext?

Come on.

That’s never going to happen.

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3 thoughts on “Julius Caesar: Where subtlety and nuance get stabbed in the back

  • June 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Apparently Delta and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of the production, although the NY Times is still funding it.

    Interestingly, the first iteration of the KKK was established to kill Republicans in the South during Reconstruction. It seems to me the Dems are all-in to reprise the Klan’s original mission and enact it nationwide.

  • June 18, 2017 at 10:04 am

    “For those looking for equivalence, a production of “Julius Caesar” featuring a black actor in the title role, which was widely read as a reference to President Obama, was staged in New York in 2012 by the Guthrie Theater of Minneapolis. No one objected. Delta, which was a sponsor of the Guthrie though not of that specific production, wasn’t heard to object.”

    Or how about “Moscone has an interesting cautionary tale about the time he produced a production of Julius Caesar for the California Shakespeare Theater that speaks to this necessity. It was in 2003, when Moscone was near the start of his tenure as artistic director of the company. His take on Caesar — like all productions of this play — was politically charged, referencing the 1978 slaying of his father, San Francisco mayor George Moscone.”. They used a gun instead of knives, like Moscone was killed.

    One more: ” When the Oregon Shakespeare Festival produced Julius Caesar in 2011 with a woman in the title role — Vilma Silva — you couldn’t help but have to balance Silva’s brilliant portrayal of a leader drunk on power with the murder of a female premier destroyed by the men around her. The production brought out all the complexities of Shakespeare’s play while making a strong feminist political statement without needing to resort to putting Silva in a Hillary Clinton pantsuit or Queen Victoria pearls.”

    • June 18, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Tell me, did the audiences at the Guthrie production launch into bloodthirsty cheers when the “widely read as a reference to President Obama” Caesar was stabbed to death? Did they take near-pornographic delight in watching him die a violent death? Sorry, no sale. Stop trying to make excuses for this. The director and producers knew exactly what they were offering up. There was malice and forethought. Nobody thinks the Trump Caesar is “widely read as a reference to Trump.” There is no nuance or subtlety in this portrayal. They knew exactly what they were doing. Go quibble somewhere else.

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