Monday, June 19, 2017
Berekeley Rep’s AD Tony Taccone Responds to Julius Caesar Controversy at the Public Theater
Stage Directions: Over the past week, a controversy has emerged surrounding The Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar now playing in New York’s Central Park. As staged by director Oskar Eustis, the actor portraying Caesar is dressed to appear like Donald Trump. The famous assassination that occurs in the middle of the play has incensed political pundits from Breitbart and Fox News, provoking them to express their scorn and moral outrage and claiming that the artists involved are endorsing the murder of our president. Their reaction, in turn, spurred other citizens (the vast majority of whom had not seen the production first-hand) to pressure corporate sponsors Delta Airlines and Bank of America to withdraw their support of the production – which they did with breathtaking speed. Mr. Trump’s own son added his fury to the fray by questioning the role of any corporation providing philanthropic support for the show, which he mockingly referred to as “art.” These reactions are deeply troubling for two reasons.