We all know that behavior depends upon its consequences. That’s why if there’s an electric fence that shocks you when you lean against it, you’ll probably avoid it the next time. I saw that we all know it, but unfortunately, there are many who think that if they whine loud enough they can make the fence stop shocking them, or at least get someone to turn off the power to it.
That’s not really how freedom works though. Yes, you’re free to do many dumb things here that you’re not free to do anywhere else. You’re just not free from the consequences of those actions. You want to tick off millions of people at an event attended by some of those people, they might just heckle you, or worse.
The actors who repeatedly acted out the death of our Commander in Chief ran into this problem after many performances of the modern adaptation of Julius Cesar, which starred Donald Trump as the assassinated ruler. While this play was in bad taste, probably bad for the country and in just about every other way inadvisable, just like many bad ideas, it wasn’t illegal. This particular group of actors apparently didn’t properly account for the Trump supporters who would be in attendance and had a few things to say about this stupidity.
Via The UK Guardian:
Corey Stoll, the actor who played the assassin Marcus Brutus in a New York production of Julius Caesar that was repeatedly interrupted by pro-Donald Trump protesters, has written of the fear such actions engendered among a cast left ‘exhausted and nervous’ by the time of the final show, in Central Park on June 18.
The Public Theater production, which featured a central character dressed to look like Trump, was first interrupted by protester Laura Loomer, who shouted that ‘this is political violence against the right’. The incident was filmed by Jack Posobiec, a rightwing conspiracy theorist, who stood up and told the crowd: ‘You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels.’
Stoll, who said he was initially worried the decision to depict Caesar as Trump would make the play like a ‘Saturday Night Live skit’, pointed to the surreality of the moment when he wrote: ‘I swear I thought he said ‘gerbils’.’
At a subsequent show, a man rushed the stage shouting, ‘Liberal hate kills’. Police charged Loomer, Javanni Valle of Brooklyn and Long Island man Salvatore Cipolla with trespassing.
Stoll said threats to the production heightened after the Republican congressman Steve Scalise was shot at baseball practice in Virginia – an act that was seemingly blamed on the Julius Caesar controversy by Donald Trump Jr.
‘Of the more than 150 mass shootings so far this year,’ Stoll wrote, ‘this was the first that appeared to be aimed at a politician. Like most Americans, I was saddened and horrified, but when the president’s son and others blamed us for the violence, I became scared.’
The brutality of the assassination in the play and its disastrous consequences showed liberal audience members that violent regime change was “hideous, shameful, and self-defeating”, Stoll wrote. ‘Protesters never shut us down but we had to fight each night to make sure they did not distort the story we were telling’
Nonetheless, the cast came to feel ‘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.’
The actor, who has starred in the Netflix series House of Cards and the Marvel film Ant-Man, said initial audience displeasure was expressed with shouts and a man unfurling a Trump 2020 flag. ‘At first I flinched, thinking the worst,’ Stoll wrote of the man with the flag. ‘But he just stood there smiling proudly. Relieved, I smiled back.’
The interruptions escalated when Loomer took to the stage, although Stoll said the actors were met with a ‘thunderous standing ovation’ when they decided to simply continue the play.
‘In our last two performances, the security increased again, and the moment before the assassination became meta-theatrical,’ he wrote. ‘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?’
By the final show, Stoll said, the cast was ‘exhausted and nervous’ and security again had to deal with a protester, who attempted to invade the stage and shouted ‘I’m sick of your bullshit!.’ Stoll said that after the show he ‘exhaled and sobbed’ backstage.
‘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,’ he wrote. ‘A play is not a tweet. It can’t be compressed and embedded and it definitely can’t be delivered apologetically.
‘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. May we continue to stand behind our work, and, when interrupted, pick it right back up from ‘liberty and freedom’.”
Don’t you just hurt on the inside for these poor actors and actresses who were being persecuted? What possible motivation could the evil conservatives have for not wanting more people to glorify the candidate that they elected to office? Just totally unfair for them to be treated in this way, don’t you think? If you think that then you might not really realize how freedom works, or how this country was founded. It was founded on standing up to those who glorify wrongdoing. Yes, those actors had the right to be in the play, just like we have the right to object to it. Maybe, if they can’t stand the heat they should stay out of the kitchen.
You and I can debate till we’re blue in the face as to whether this play should have gone forward. Was it art or was it over the top aggression? Should the Secret Service get involved as with the Kathy Griffith case? I don’t know, that’s not in my wheelhouse. What I do know is that if it is considered performance art, it will only get as much traction as it gets money, and if people think there will be negative consequences to supporting it, they won’t do so.
Again, we’re all free to be stupid, we’re just not free from the consequences of our stupidity.
(Source: The Guardian)
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