Sunday, June 18, 2017


 This play closes today!  The Stage Manager is not credited initially, but here we have other essentials:
SYNOPSIS: In William Shakespeare's tragedy of political ambition, corruption and betrayal, Roman senators Brutus and Cassius lead a group effort to assassinate the powerful Julius Caesar, then battle with Mark Antony over control of the state.

Directed by Oskar Eustis

Starring: Tina Benko, Teagle F. Bougere, Eisa Davis, Robert Gilbert, Yusef Bulos, Gregg Henry, Edward James Hyland, Nikki M. James, Christopher Livingston, Elizabeth Marvel, Chris Myers, Corey Stoll, John Douglas Thompson, and Natalie Woolams-Torres

Scenic design by David Rockwell
Costume design by Paul Tazewell
Lighting design by Kenneth Posner
Sound design by Jessica Paz
Original music and soundscapes by Bray Poor

Show Times: Tuesday - Sunday @8pm
(Some days vary - see site for details)

June 18, 2017

The flap at a recent performance of Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar by the Public Theatre in Central Park points up the importance of Art.  I'm posting my response to Mark Binelli's well phrased account on Facebook of what happened when not one, but two members of the audience created a disturbance at the play.  I've asked for Mark's permission to repost, but have not heard back from him. If it's here when you read this, he's not declined my request.  I think his report is brilliant.  

Me first:
Thanks to Marlene Hajdu and to Mark Binelli. I often refer to 'tone' when it comes the the 'right' v. the 'left.' Hating politics as I hate the word hate and all politics and... (did I get close to R and J?) .. Binelli's articulate essay of his experience of Julius Caesar in Central Park has the tone of an educated and thoughtful person. 
No one wants #45 dead. 
The  beauty of Theatre and especially the absolute control of this production by the Stage Manager, who, I hope will be credited as this unfolds... is a testament to the power that ART has to bring our lives to Life.

Mr. Binelli.. if you see this.. or any of his friends.. please credit this Stage Manager and at the next performance of this Public Theatre play, encourage the audience to rise as one and applaud.

For those not actually 'in' the theatre. The reason that the performances you attend work (or may not work) with timing and flow is because the Stage Manager calls the show. Unsung and not always appreciated (does the name Simon Legree ring a bell? ) this wonderful production will now have more audience and more attention than could ever have been expected! Please Stand. Applaud! Be grateful for Theatre! 
Now this from Mark:
Why Alt-Right Trump Activists Couldn't Disrupt Shakespeare in the Park
What it was like to be in the audience during Friday's production of 'Julius Caesar'

By Mark Binelli

There are two types of clowns in Shakespeare: clever fools who speak truth to power (King Lear's court jester, Feste in Twelfth Night) and actual idiots, written to be laughed at, who spew malapropisms and wind up magically transformed into asses. The alt-right agitators who interrupted Friday's Shakespeare in the Park performance of Julius Caesar fell squarely into the latter category. While they may have failed in their primary goal of activist mischief – I happened to be sitting in the audience and can attest that the brief disruption merely added a frisson of excitement to an excellent, already electric production, so, thanks for that, dudes – they did manage one neat trick, turning one of Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedies, ever so briefly, into a comedy.

Certain segments of the Right have been stirred by news reports of this Caesar, in which the assassinated Roman emporer has been recast as a Trump figure. (There are also visual references throughout to Ferguson and Occupy Wall Street.) Charges of liberal hypocrisy were promiscuously levied – "The Left doesn't like it when their tactics are used against their 'expression.' How many wd storm stage if 'Obama' was stabbed?" Laura Ingraham tweeted – though, as many have pointed out, an Obama-like Caesar had been offed in a 2012 production of the play at Minneapolis' esteemed Guthrie Theater, with no attendant fuss. Beyond that, to interpret Julius Caesar as somehow pro-assassination is both illiterate and ahistorical. As the British critic and Shakespearean scholar Frank Kermode once wrote, "Shakespeare treats [Brutus] with delicate sympathy, but cannot have thought his act a right one."
Still, with news of the production breaking so soon after Kathy Griffin's gross, unfunny mock-beheading of Trump, a misreading – willful or otherwise – of director Oskar Eustis' intentions was inevitable. But any good-faith critic of the show who actually sat through it would have to admit there's zero celebration of violence in the staging. Indeed, quite the opposite: the gory stabbing of Caesar-Trump (subtly played by Gregg Henry) was horrific, eliciting audible gasps from the crowd; a woman sitting near me covered her face.
Seconds later, a woman dressed in black rushed onto the stage. It wasn't clear, at first, if she was part of the show – throughout the performance, actors in street clothes portraying members of various mobs erupted from the audience – but the deer-in-the-headlights look in her eyes gave her game away. "Stop the normalization of political violence against the right!" she cried, ignoring what she'd presumably just seen, an opposite-of-normalizing staging of violence that had left the audience stunned. I'm guessing she'd assumed members of the liberal New York crowd would all be laughing and high-fiving and clinking champagne flutes at the fictional death of the fictional Trump, and that she'd timed her outburst for maximum buzzkill. The audience did cheer as she was escorted from the amphitheater by security. (She was subsequently revealed to be Laura Loomer, a blogger for a Canadian alt-right website.)
As the commotion unfolded onstage, a man sitting in the section to my left stood up, holding a camera phone, and began screaming, "You are all Goebbels!" He meant Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, but hilariously, he mispronounced the name so thoroughly, many people were simply puzzled. Turning to my friend, I whispered, "Why is this guy calling us gerbils?" His name turned out to be Jack Dogberry – oh wait, I'm sorry, Posobiec – an online conspiracy theorist who has promoted lies like PizzaGate. Charmingly, he would later post on Twitter, "I 100% pronounced Goebbels the correct American English way. Sorry, kraut-lovers."
He was escorted out, too, and the show went on. Later, he'd lie online about witnessing "a Manhattan crowd roar with applause as President Trump was stabbed again and again on stage" – 100 percent false. (It's here I'll note that Posobiec has been granted White House press credentials.) We did roar with applause, however, after his ouster, when the disembodied voice of the stage manager came over the intercome with the perfect cue, pointing the cast to the line that comes right after the dying Caesar's "Et tu, Brute?": "Actors, please, let's start up at 'Liberty! Freedom!'"

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