The Public Theater’s current production of “Julius Caesar” has caused a bit of controversy with right wingers, thanks to Caesar being made up to look like Donald Trump. If you’re unfamiliar with the play, or history in general, Caesar gets stabbed. A lot. So many times. Some people have decided to pretend to be outraged by this.
On Friday night, conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec attempted to shut the play down by screaming “You are all Goebbels!” and “The blood of Steve Scalice is on your hands” at people who just wanted to watch a free play. That’s annoying for those folks, but if it makes you feel any better, the play resumed shortly after the two protesters were escorted out of the theater. That means Posobiec and his accomplice had to stand in line all day to get a ticket just to briefly interrupt a play.
Of course, we can laugh at it all we want, but when Fox News runs with a headline like “NYC Play Appears to Depict Assassination of Trump,” failing to mention it’s a 400-year-old play and the person being assassinated is actually Julius Caesar, people do take it seriously. Opponents of the production caused enough of a stir to get some of the sponsors to flee and now Shakespeare companies across the country have suddenly started receiving some fairly aggressive hate mail, even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the Public Theater’s NYC production.
“[H]ope you all who did this play about Trump are the first do [sic] die when ISIS COMES TO YOU [expletive] sumbags [sic],” an email sent to Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA read, the Boston Globe reports. As you are surely aware, Lenox, Massachusetts is not in New York City, New York. Shakespeare & Company never did a damn thing to Trump, and they’re not the only ones dealing with this issue.
According to the Globe, that email was just one of 40 sent to Shakespeare & Company, meanwhile, a company in Dallas has gotten about 80 threatening emails, a group in DC has received about 12, and New York Classical Theater — which is at least in the right location — has gotten a few nasty comments as well.
“We just got slammed,” Raphael Parry of Shakespeare Dallas said. “It’s pretty amazing the vitriol, the wishing we would die and our family would die. A whole lot of them say that we should burn in hell.”
Parry also has a theory for why his company and others that have nothing to do with the Shakespeare in the Park production are getting so much hate mail.
“They’re just doing a general Google search,” he said. “When you Google ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ in the Texas region, our name pops up first, and they just go to town.”
The artistic director of another Shakespeare company thought maybe “some letter’s gone out” to a bunch of people telling them to write nasty things to their local Shakespeare company or even specific theaters. That’s certainly possible, people love to manufacture outrage.
Both are valid and reasonable explanations, but we’re overlooking an obvious answer. Some people might just be stupid and think that “Julius Caesar” is some new play and that no matter where it is put on, the lead role is played by an avatar of Trump.
[Boston Globe | Photo: Getty]