The director of the controversial Donald Trump-inspired adaptation of “Julius Caesar” believes that the majority of people in the United States agree with the message it presents about the president.
Oskar Eustis, the artistic director for The Public Theater in New York, chose to present Caesar in a business suit with blonde hair, a gold bathtub and a Slovenian wife his the adaptation of the classic Shakespeare play. Eustis didn’t change the details of the plot line though, in which Caesar is brutally stabbed to death in Act 3.
Despite public backlash condemning the production’s use of a Trumpian Caesar and corporate sponsors pulling their support from the play, Eustis is sticking to his artistic stance.
“We can’t allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed. We can’t allow ourselves to feel we’re completely isolated. We’re not,” Eustis told the Associated Press. “We’re speaking for the majority of the country and we need to draw strength from that and step out and take the risks that will really fulfill the arts’ historic function.”
— Lady Di #MAGA (@Dianne09314822) June 11, 2017
Eustis expected a reaction due to his artistic direction, but now feels that live theater is under attack by people overreacting to his play that some believe condones the assassination of our president.
“I thought we might provoke some response but what I thought is we’d provoke response to our production, and what we got was not a response to our production but a response to a completely slanted, biased reporting on a photograph and video tapes of our production,” Eustis told the AP.
The “Julius Caesar” director fears that the negative backlash might have a negative effect on smaller theater companies and productions “because they’ll be afraid of the consequences.”
“The brouhaha over ‘Julius Caesar’ is an illustration of the fact that the arts have the ability to be on the cutting edge of positive change,” Eustis said. “We have the ability to make statements about democracy, about free speech, about robust debates, about the fact that controversy is a good thing for the arts. It’s what the arts are supposed to provoke. This is an opportunity that I hope folks won’t let go by.”