Today’s blog is written by guest Kenneth Kucan. Kenneth sits on the board of A Public Fit and has been instrumental in its formation and continued development. He has been a resident of Las Vegas for over 50 years and is one of a few names that are synonymous with theater in the Valley. He is a retired teacher, writer, and supporter of the arts. And he’s my Pop.
Some thoughts on the Julius Caesar Controversy in New York
When we are the object of satire, we rarely see it.
When our side satirizes our opponents, we are astounded that they take offense rather than learn from our keen political wit.
Political satire in theater goes back as long as there has been theater. The Greeks had it; the Romans had it; the Elizabethans had it and, of course, we have it. The latest iteration Julius Caesar currently being performed in Central Park has ruffled some feathers.
Fox news went bananas railing that when Obama was elected nothing like that appeared against him. They were wrong. Obama was brutalized in Minneapolis shortly after his election. I seem to remember a play that opened shortly after JFK’s assassination entitled Macbird that implied that President Johnson was the man behind the dirty deed.
The real question, I suppose, is at least twofold. Is it totally tasteless (as some have pointed to Kathy Griffen’s employment of a bloody decapitated head of Trump) or is it rather more in line of accepted dramatic process. In this case I think the second. Trump has shown a shocking lack of understanding of the processes of representative government. He seems to have dressed himself in the trappings of absolute power, ignoring the Constitution, engaging in extreme nepotism and generally acting like a five-year-old. Historically, what has happened to men to operate in that fashion? The same thing that happened to Julius Caesar.
It is doubtful that those who mounted the play are advocating for violence against Mr. Trump, although that notion cannot be entirely discounted. However, it is more likely that they want us to think about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Trump’s presidency. Can anyone out there remember a President and Vice President who hired criminal lawyers six months into their terms?
The current iteration of satire is perfectly suitable.
Leave us your thoughts in the comments below: Is the Julius Caesar currently being performed in New York city acceptable theatrical satire, or is it offensive and beyond reproach? -DK