“Shakespeare in the Park” season opened last night with “Julius Caesar” a perfect match play for our times. Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater Artistic Director and the director of this production made up his mind to open the summer season with this play on November 9, 2016. The play is about the fragility of democracy that can be twisted and veered off by bombastic speeches cloaked as a narrative that pretend to have at their heart the concern for the people, in this case, of Rome. Caesar is dressed in the suit with red tie, in full election campaign mode, looking sometimes identical with Trump, whimsical, with the same gestures, insecurities, and broken discourse, but using the Shakespearean text, a much more elevated language comparing with the one used by our 7th grade level president. The first part of the play is full of references; Calpurnia speaks with a heavy Slavic accent, one of the conspirators comes dressed in a #resist shawl, the intrigues of ancient Rome are oozing on the Senate floor populated by suits, adorned with the American flag and surrounded by huge portraits of Washington and Lincoln. Caesar is murdered and nobody knows if he were to be a dictator but for sure the victory of Marc Anthony, played by Elizabeth Marvel, propelled him and Octavian in this overpowering position. The republic ended, the portraits of the Founding Fathers were removed and the executions started.
The frailty of democracy