June 24, 2017

"In our last two performances, the security increased again, and the moment before the assassination became meta-theatrical."

"As the conspirators covertly moved in on Caesar, I wondered how many eyes were on us, at the same time, waiting for their own cue?"

Writes Corey Stoll, the actor who played Brutus in the New York production of Julius Caesar that depicted the assassination of Donald Trump.
[By the final performance] our show had become the target of hecklers and online vitriol, and it felt as if we were acting in two plays simultaneously — the one we had rehearsed and the one thrust upon us. The protesters never shut us down, but we had to fight each night to make sure they did not distort the story we were telling. At that moment, watching my castmates hold their performances together, it occurred to me that this is resistance....

In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act.... The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do....

86 comments:

Sebastian said...

"make sure they did not distort the story we were telling." Which was just a straight presentation of Shakespeare--the Trumpian look of Caesar was only in the eye of the beholder, and the play, as we all know, makes the conspirators look bad.

"At that moment, watching my castmates hold their performances together, it occurred to me that this is resistance...." Because simply making Caesar look like Trump was not at all meant as an act of "resistance."

"In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act...." Because, you see, prior to the deplorable "misinterpretation" it wasn't political at all.

"The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do...." Not at all implying, of course, that the brave artists of the resistance are "us good."

Michael K said...

It wasn't "misinterpreted."

Just crude activism that may backfire badly.

chuck said...

Inflated ego and no self awareness. "The resistance ...", snicker.

Paco Wové said...

"In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract,"

Maybe he should stop then.

Big Mike said...

No one will shoot them on stage. Hodgkinson was a Democrat and a Bernie bro, not a Trump voter.

bgates said...

On November 25, 1864, [John Wilkes] Booth performed for the only time with his brothers Edwin and Junius in a single engagement production of Julius Caesar at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York. He played Mark Antony and his brother Edwin had the larger role of Brutus in a performance acclaimed as "the greatest theatrical event in New York history."

-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilkes_Booth

sane_voter said...

One excuse I hear for using a Trump look-alike, is that some version of the play somewhere during the last eight years had an Obama look-alike. Never saw a clip of that. If there is no video, it is fake news.

Paddy O said...

Propagandists often like to think of themselves as artist so as to preserve their sense of integrity.

Not all people involved in propaganda are doing it because they've been co-opted.

But you can tell the difference by how they respond to criticism.

Some emphasize that it's an important message to get out. They own the fact it's propaganda.

Others aren't in it for the message, they need a paycheck, so they just say "it's a job."

The worst, the most untrustworthy, try to recast the propaganda as some kind of high art, beyond the understanding of the ignorant, with art as its own goal or some deeper message that reaches outside the obvious. Either they're lying to us or lying to themselves, both of which is sad.

YoungHegelian said...

It's so strange when parlor lefties are astounded when the people who they continuously vilify as violent, gun-obsessed, no-nothing extremists actually do something that actually pushes back against the Left.

Why it's almost as if these Lefties don't even believe their own hyperbole. It's just, ya know, what's said.....

Ralph L said...

I'd say it was all a publicity stunt. Thanks to the internet, it reached a larger audience than Manhattan.

Henry said...

Wow, that's some amazing gaslighting.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do..."
Self serving and simple-minded: the American artistic class at its most typical.
Acting is craft, not art.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn51 said...

. . . .In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted

Bullshit Meter just exploded.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bay Area Guy said...

Funny how "artistic" considerations never lead to a black, Obama-like Prez starring as Caesar in this famous play......

Mary Beth said...

But don’t allow yourself to be gaslighted or sucked into a bad-faith argument.

Who's trying to gaslight whom? If making Caesar look like Trump was supposed to make the people fantasizing about his assassination realize that killing the president would be ruinous "for democracy itself", I never heard about it until now.

Krumhorn said...

When you are pretty sure that you have a monopoly on virtue, you say things like this smug craptastic actor. The lefties are drowning in their superiority soup. The oceans aren't rising but the flood levels of superiority soup are swamping all our boats.

- Krumhorn

Achilles said...

"In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act.... The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do...."

Kinda wish they had rotated through the last half dozen or so presidents. That would have been art.

What they did not so much.

John said...


Blogger Lewis Wetzel said...

Acting is craft, not art.

Amen to that, Lewis, Amen. You just toggled my hot button. Not to diminish craftsmanship in any way. I have nothing but the highest respect for it.

Some craftsmen and craftswomen are artists as well and vice-versa. But arts and crafts are 2 very different things. Both important, both a joy to see when done well. But different.

http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-education-and-training/case-arts-and-crafts

We like to talk about Seinfeld here so an example from the show:

Larry David was an artist. He created (with Jerry S) something unique and, many of us think, special.

Jason Alexander was a fine, fine, craftsman inhabiting the character that Larry created. Also a bit of an artist since he probably had some input how to play it but primarily a craftsman.

John Henry

n.n said...

The Pro-Choice Church is getting antsy.

A theatrical performance of a baby trial. Art imitates life.

LYNNDH said...

They really do not understand "Resistance". Are they ready for real pushback?

Mike Sylwester said...

Democrats are issuing a lot of "dog whistles" to assassinate our President Trump.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Godfather said...

During my lifetime, one President was assassinated, and three others were targets of assassination attempts. In this historical context, it is repellant to portray the assassination of any political leader for the purpose of scoring cheap political points. If "Julius Caesar" were presented honestly, the audience would be moved to understand that assassination is destructive and wrong, even where the assassins have noble reasons to oppose their victim.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Ciotti said...

I still don't understand why it was so important to kill a Caesar who looks like Trump. Why not kill a Caesar who looks like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt? Why cater to those in the audience who wild with joy when they see a Trump look-alike killed?

Quayle said...

Of course, my fellow cast members and I deeply want our art to be importantamt, evocative and compelling to the public.

No, we're just kidding! We only want you to buy the ticket and clap politely when it is over, and later tell your friends how important, evocative and compelling it was so they'll buy a ticket and come clap politely.

But when we talk about our art we certainly want to highlight how important it is and how much meaning it has for our current political and social environment.

Now when we say "evocative and compelling" what we really mean is you talk a lot about it; it doesn't mean you actually do anything in response to it.

This is the nuance of which we speak which certain people have no ability to comprehend.

Earnest Prole said...

The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack

Give me a fucking break. If you said that at least you'd be honest.

Bob Boyd said...

The age of the wanker is upon us.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

LYNNDH said...
They really do not understand "Resistance". Are they ready for real pushback?

In their minds they are always the plucky rebels fighting the evil empire. They are the heroes in the movie that playing in their heads. If they ever encounter real resistance they will crumble like a house of cards.

FIDO said...

Who's trying to gaslight whom? If making Caesar look like Trump was supposed to make the people fantasizing about his assassination realize that killing the president would be ruinous "for democracy itself", I never heard about it until now.

Exactly Mary Beth. They only started talking about 'the importance of the message' AFTER they started getting push back from 'flyover country'.

**

I read the article on the Vulture. NOTHING HAPPENED. Two people leapt on stage and a group of people had a legal, non disruptive protest (He described it as a legal distance away but still audible).

Isn't it funny how college campuses do not keep their protestors 'a legal distance away'.

If he feels paranoid and under pressure, it is because he knows that he p.o.ed a lot of people on purpose. 'Online hectoring' isn't actually, you know, disruptive TO A PLAY.

They call a SINGLE woman running on stage as 'storming' the performance. When they got mere 'threats', they put a security clamp down that had three guards jumping a man reaching for an umbrella.

Compare that to the total NON action by the mayors of Portland and Berkeley when they had armed thugs roaming the streets of their cities and campuses.

When Leftists are threatened, no expense should be spared on security. When Republicans are under threat, they don't give a damn.

FIDO said...

still don't understand why it was so important to kill a Caesar who looks like Trump. Why not kill a Caesar who looks like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt? Why cater to those in the audience who wild with joy when they see a Trump look-alike killed?

Paul,

The actor mentioned that when the Don was killed (in a get up that made the actor himself nervous) the reaction to Trump being assassinated was 'nervous' (for those knowing they were crossing a huge line) to gleeful (for those who are to mad, stupid, or partisan to care).

I am betting that the director was feeding on the 'glee' aspect.

n.n said...

The attempted assassination of Scalise was a copycat or encore performance?

Original Mike said...

"The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad..."

And your nuanced message was...?

The Cracker Emcee said...

" The age of the wanker is upon us."

Exactly this. I can't think of a single adult in the Leftist room. Not one. No wonder the Left is disintegrating.

veni vidi vici said...

Everyone's a goddam martyr.

Fernandinande said...

"Simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act."

That sounds pretty important.

John Taylor said...

it wasn't until Romanticism that art was lifted above to have it's own, shared, untouchable identity beyond the earthy, flawed world. This became Art For Art's Sake. And this romantic art evolved until it became a series of inside jokes meant to befuddle and insult the masses of commoners, and maybe occasionally amuse like a Koons shiny poodle dog. Today, and in this play, the credo of art perfection is used as a defence from on high to swat the Republican earthlings... I don't mind if the romantic notions of art were just thrown out again - I'd be happy to have art that is understandable and not proposed as perfection itself, unassailable by others except the ones wielding it... The play, then is really more of a socialist drama and not art. That's also okie to me, as long as everyone is simply straight-forward about it. In this play, the elites wear the garb of "the people", and the people are not having it...

Ralph L said...

some version of the play somewhere during the last eight years had an Obama look-alike.
You have an odd imagination.
That would have been front page news for years with everyone involved tarred and feathered or worse.

Etienne said...
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Freder Frederson said...

You have an odd imagination.
That would have been front page news for years with everyone involved tarred and feathered or worse.


Bullshit. suck. on. this.

Mike Sylwester said...

Freder Frederson at 10:36 PM

Bullshit. suck. on. this

Beyond the actor's being Black, how did he look like Barack Obama? The article does not say.

Does every actor who is a Black male "look like Barack Obama"?

Mike Sylwester said...

Maybe the Black actor in the Guthrie Theater had sharply-creased pants, and that made him "look like Barack Obama".

Josephbleau said...

Blogger sane_voter said...
One excuse I hear for using a Trump look-alike, is that some version of the play somewhere during the last eight years had an Obama look-alike. Never saw a clip of that. If there is no video, it is fake news.

6/24/17, 8:59 PM

Perhaps the great impresario Missouri Rodeo Clown who enacted Obama in front of a Bull was the parallel event referenced. The clown was banished from the art.

readering said...

So next summer they should produce Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra with actors dressed as POTUS and FLOTUS.

veni vidi vici said...

That Star Tribune article sure moves off the 2012 Obama version headline into "Don't take away my rice bowl!" arts funding whining but quick, doesn't it?

Nary a detail about the play or audience reaction, other than "JC was a tall black basketball player who sometimes looks like Barack Obama (see photo above)" [in which photo the guy looks nothing like Barack Obama, unless like most New York upturned-nose types, "they all look the same to you."

Interesting brew but overall, a pretty weak tea.

veni vidi vici said...

I would reckon that the 2012 production treated Caesar's death with a funereal sobriety, sombre in the extreme. Contrast with the Trump-as-Caesar production's veritable hootenanny over the killing, and that may explain why there's not much press about the 2012 edition.

Jim S. said...

Yeah, I couldn't get past this:

In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract...

Really? I mean, really? It's willfully misinterpreting their intentions to think that a Trump lookalike was meant to portray Trump? Really? If he was supposed to represent something else, what exactly was it?

veni vidi vici said...

Plus, during the Obama years the libs were so busy breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for everytime they put a Black man or woman in a lead role, that was more likely the focus of stories about the play, not the idea that they were "assassinating Barack Obama".

Jim S. said...

This guy is portraying his fellow actors as being victimized by forces when they're the victimizers. We've seen it before. Kathy Griffin holds up a simulated mutilated head of the sitting President, then a couple days later says that she's the one who's been "broken". Spare me.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Just when you think artists can't get more self-congratulatory...
Awards all around!

Mary Beth said...

The 2012 article about that production doesn't mention that Caesar is supposed to resemble Obama. Seems like an important thing to leave out.

The actor that played Caesar doesn't look like Obama.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

What brave resistance party in human history begged the evil people they are resisting for continued funding of their resistance movement??
We are resisting you small minded people...but we demand you keep giving us money so we can resist you!!
How noble; how brave.

Achilles said...

Blogger Freder Frederson said...

"Bullshit. suck. on. this."

That actor looks nothing like obama. The promotions at the time said nothing about obama being represented. It looks like a black actor got a lead part in a play.

And par for the course a white democrat lumps all black people together in a racist way to support his narrative. Such a boring pattern.

Scott said...

Art can't be misinterpreted. But propaganda can be.

bgates said...

Here's how the 2012 staging was reviewed at the time.

http://www.startribune.com/caesar-wears-a-business-suit/137759458/

Using a wall of video projections, set designer Neil Patel has positioned this "Caesar" in 2012, complete with news telecasts and shots of the U.S. Capitol....DuPaty needs more charisma as Caesar, a man whose populist skills made him one of history's first rock-star warrior/politicians....For newcomers, this "Caesar" brings you the play with little unnecessary business and does so in two hours -- not an unworthy feat. If you wish for something transformative, look elsewhere.


http://www.citypages.com/arts/julius-caesar-mostly-works-as-modern-day-thriller-6583854

While there are certainly parallels between the story and current Western society, the modern-day allusions -- including the Occupy movement -- don't translate all that well. The play mainly involves the one percenters who are either a part of the plot or the victim....Most of the rest of the company is also strong, including Bjorn DuPaty as a stately (and somewhat clueless) Julius Caesar

Neither of those come any closer to saying Caesar is a standin for Obama than the coded phrase "stately (and somewhat clueless)". It doesn't appear that anyone at the time equated Caesar with Obama, just as ten years earlier nobody thought Aaron Sorkin was writing Jed Bartlett as Bush just because they're both white.

Ralph L said...

like a black actor got a lead part in a play.
And just like in the movies, the black guy is the first to bite the dust.

Ken B said...

Freder is bullshitting again. The actor playing Caesar he links to has a bald head. If you are trying to make him look like Obama, would you make him bald? Perhaps to Freder "they all look alike."

Jason said...

The reason the libtards didn't gin up the outrage machine against the duPaty production is that they were fellow liberals putting on the show.

If it were a Tom Selleck production they would be deafened by the obvious assassinate Obama dog whistle and would have been fundraising off of it all year while Al Sharpton led nonstop marches and pickets outside the theatre.

Quaestor said...

In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted to score points and to distract, simply doing the work of an artist has become a political act.... The very act of saying anything more nuanced than “us good, them bad” is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do....

Freely translated: Corey Stoll good. Donald Trump bad.

bagoh20 said...

"I still don't understand why it was so important to kill a Caesar who looks like Trump."

Cheap, lazy, uninspired appeal to boring base desires and an attempt to shock that is just completely predictable and quite lame. In other words, bad art. They just aren't very good. Maybe they were or could be but Trump "broke" them too. It's like a junior high school level idea of how to make a political statement through art. They would agree with all that, if it was someone else performing the play with Obama as Cesar. Suddenly they would see clearly the lameness that is their "art".

bagoh20 said...

If it was done before with Obama as Cesar, that too was lame, and that makes this copy of the idea even lamer.

eddie willers said...

Kinda wish they had rotated through the last half dozen or so presidents. That would have been art.

Would have made the (supposed) point (assassination is not the answer) better and have saved the production from any controversy.

But they really just wanted to kill Trump, didn't they?

Qwinn said...

If the lame tu quoque attempt Freder put forth is the closest thing the Left could find to "they did it to Obama too!", we can be assured that it was never done to Obama.

FIDO said...

There is a 'timing' thing involved.

A group of friends, sitting around a fireplace, enjoying some wine, can make a joke about running off with a friends wife. It is a joke. One might be a cheeky bugger, but no one takes it seriously.

If you say the same statement when Sue and Hubby are hammer and tongs, where she is constantly traveling and everyone KNOWS they are looking down the barrel of divorce that wisdom, prudence , and indeed empathy (not to mention self defense) might make that kind of joke off the table.

How many threats and images can the Left dole out without getting some backlash? Would they accept similar levels of hyperbole directed at them?

TODAY we have political violence and all of it coming from the Left. TODAY we have a ton of violent imagery and it comes from the Left. TODAY we have a lot of unsettling protests and it is coming from the Left.

And historically, political violence in a large scale has ALWAYS come from the Left.

And yet they think they are immune from criticism.

It is amazing to me!

PoNyman said...

Congratulations! I think they may be getting a taste for what performing before unruly crowds was like back in the day when Shakespeare was churning out his material.

Dude1394 said...

Sounds like a little whiney bi-yatch to me. Oh woe is us, we did something edgy and not some people would like to carve our liver.

Eleanor said...

I like the scene in House of Cards where Kevin Spacey feeds Corey Stoll some aspirin, gets him to climb naked into a hot bath, and hands him a razor blade. Then Spacey describes the proper way to slit one's wrists. It's a wonderful metaphor for how the right is treating the left. Go ahead and kill your political party. We'll give you what you need to do it and stand back and watch. Art and Life.

Curious George said...

"Freder Frederson said...

Bullshit. suck. on. this."

Wow. I see why you did the quick drive-by. I would be ashamed of myself if I posted that craap.

Paco Wové said...

"That actor looks nothing like obama. "

I might have to side with Freder on this one. "stately (and somewhat clueless)" seems like a definite tell.

cubanbob said...

In the alternative universe where so many leftist reside how would this play have been cast if Hillary was president? It would be sexist if a woman wasn't cast in the role of Caesar at a time there was a woman president. Would Caesar be made to look like Hillary? Would the killing scene have been done with such joyful relish?

Fen said...

"I don't understand why every is so angry. All I said was 'niggardly' " pleaded the artist as he was escorted out of the NAACP Convention.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

I will guess that Young Cory has never been in a fight in his life.

Fen said...

American artists suck. They obviously need to suffer more. I think I'll open a workshop to improve their work.

lemondog said...

Et tu Brute?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

If they wanted to make a political statement -- and they actually bothered to comprehend the text -- they would make Antony look like Donald Trump, Octavius look like Vladimir Putin, and Brutus look like James Comey.

And JuliET Caesar would look like Hillary Clinton.

They would make a stronger political statement. No one who comprehends the play would be confused about their message. Non-Leftists would still disagree, but no one would have much cause to object. It's a valid transformation of the play to fit the Leftist (i.e., delusional) view of current politics.

Gotta get me a National Endowment for the Arts grant...

JAORE said...

Methinks a string of firecrackers would cause mass retreat for 99% of the brave resistance.

I was going to call BS on, "In this new world where art is willfully misinterpreted", but was beaten both in time and clarity by several above.

tcrosse said...

In the alternative universe where so many leftist reside how would this play have been cast if Hillary was president?

The Scottish Play would be more suitable for Hillary.
I've yet to find a classic work in which the fallen Queen flies into a drunken rage, collapses, and chokes on her own vomit. It might be too edgy for a New York crowd.

mtrobertslaw said...

If a "nuanced performance" is the true measure of artistic merit, Julius Caesar should have been played by a woman--a Hillary Clinton look-alike comes to mind.

Michael K said...

"That actor looks nothing like obama. "

I might have to side with Freder on this one. "stately (and somewhat clueless)" seems like a definite tell.


I assume you have heard the joke about Obama trying to cash a check ?

He is asked for ID and says he hasn't any with him.

The teller then asks if there is anything he can do to prove who he is ?

He says, "I haven't a clue."

The teller says, "Would you like tens or twenties, Mr President ?"

BudBrown said...

It must be a burden to have great acting thrust upon you.

gg6 said...

"...where art is willfully misinterpreted ... The very act of saying anything ... nuanced ..is under attack, and I’m proud to stand with artists who do...."
Yes, thus speaks a self-described 'artist' who proves he knows nothing at all about Art.
Welcome to the Johnny Depp moron club,

Steve said...

The President said in an interview that special counsel Bob Mueller is "an honorable man". Mr. Trump seems to know this play.

Martin said...

Misinterpreted? The audience cheered when Caesar/Trump was assassinated. Who is misinterpreting what? Sounds like to protesters are responding to te way teh bulk of teh audience interprets it.

Peter said...

"I still don't understand why it was so important to kill a Caesar who looks like Trump. Why not kill a Caesar who looks like Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt?"

Because the audience would perceive the murder of Lincoln or FDR as tragedy (as Shakespeare intended the audience to perceive the murder of Caesar), whereas the murder of Trump is something for both the cast and the audience to take pleasure in (thus turning Shakespeare's play into violence-porn dogfood)?