It was a beautiful Spring evening in New York City, I was just out of Salon Riz in the Upper West Side, and decided that I actually could make it to The Public Theater’s show that evening. I had won a pair of tickets from that day’s TodayTix lottery, fantastically on the second day of trying.
During the elective Shakespeare course I took my senior year of high school, my group abridged and performed William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and after hitting my third summer in New York City, I was particularly antsy to see this Shakespeare in the Park production.
In processing the results of this past, fateful November 8th, the only silver lining I could come up with was the electric impact this election, and this President’s forthcoming term, would have on our 21st century American society and culture. The frustration it would incite, the commentary it would fire, but most stirring, the popular culture and art it would inspire.
Cue The Public Theater’s, Summer 2017, production of Julius Caesar. Caesar and Calpurnia bear an unmistakable resemblance to a certain orange tinged, red tied leader of the free world & his high fashion, Eastern European accented wife. Pussy hats and “Resist” decorated shirts and arm-sleeves abound.
I find myself disappointed by the news that Shakespeare in the Park has lost some corporate sponsorship in direct relation to this production. Not necessarily surprised, but certainly disappointed. This action is in such strong contrast to what I assume is the opening of any performance held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. In a strong and comforting voice, they say over the speakers:
“This is your theater. It belongs to the City of New York. And all are welcome.”
In spite of this recent gesture, Julius Caesar will continue to provide some much needed comic relief and captivation. Corey Stoll as Brutus is an approach to Shakespeare that really moved me. While the typical actor likes to adopt a sort of haughty tone, Stoll modulates so well, making his lines so dynamically emotional and the meaning of the words instinctively comprehensible.
Performances of Shakespeare: for free, for anyone, held in Central Park, during NYC’s terrible and wonderful summers, executed so well… is a wildly important initiative. One that the audience members rightfully and gratefully appreciate, and that sponsors should feel honored to support.