Kathy Griffin’s sad career came to an end last week when she did a photo shoot of herself holding a mock bloody decapitated Donald Trump head. If only she had done this under the guise of a Shakespearean play, she’d still be a low-level D-list celebrity. A theater company is doing a contemporary version of the play Julius Cesar with the title roll being played by someone who looks and acts suspiciously like the President.
Shakespeare in the Park, an annual summer program by The Public Theater that puts on plays by William Shakespeare in Central Park, kicked off May 23 with a performance of Julius Caesar.
But this rendition of Shakespeare’s tragedy comes with a twist — Caesar is played by a character that bears a striking resemblance to President Donald Trump.
According to Playbill, The Public Theater’s Oskar Eustis directed the Trump-inspired take on the classic political drama, which boasts famed stage actor John Douglas Thompson and House of Cards star Corey Stoll in its cast.
The choice of Julius Caesar for the annual program is one dripping with subtext, chosen deliberately for the supposed parallels between the Roman dictator and Trump. A description of the play on The Public Theater’s website states that “Shakespeare’s political masterpiece has never felt more contemporary.”
It describes the Roman leader as “Magnetic, populist, irreverent,” and “bent on absolute power.” The description also notes that a “small band of patriots, devoted to the country’s democratic traditions, must decide how to oppose him.”
Those who have read Shakespeare’s play know how that opposition manifests itself (brace for spoilers): a group of conspirators — including his friends Cassius and Brutus — stab Caesar to death on the Senate floor.