DCPA: Colorado Shakes comes to bury Caesar … not Trump
Colorado Shakespeare Festival opens a Julius Caesar that director Anthony Powell hopes will speak for itself
When Julius Caesar is assassinated in Shakespeare’s famous play of the same name, it sends shock waves through the audience. But when a Caesar who uncannily resembled President Donald Trump was assassinated in a recent New York production of the play, it sent shock waves through the entire country.
Julius Caesar has been a hot topic since the Public Theatre played up similarities between the title character and Donald Trump. The murder of a Caesar who was played by a white actor wearing a business suit and a long, red tie, struck some as too close to home. Sponsors Delta and Bank of America pulled their support of the production. After word of the controversy quickly spread, pro-Trump protesters stormed the stage and halted a performance, to the derision of the crowd.
Delta said the production did not reflect its values and that the “artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.” Bank of America felt the production “intended to provoke or offend.”
The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund was quick to condemn Delta and Bank of America for their decision.
“Good taste is a matter of opinion, and an ‘intention to provoke’ may be an integral part of a play’s mission,” President John Weidman and Executive Director Ralph Sevush said in a combined statement. “Delta doesn’t appear to have had a problem with the ‘values’ or ‘taste’ of such depictions before.”
In 2012, The Guthrie Theater’s production portrayed Caesar as then-President Obama. Delta sponsored that production in Minneapolis, but did not pull its support.