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Pros and Cons of the Taper's 'Julius Caesar'

June 03, 1991

Regarding "The Importance of the Taper's 'Caesar' " (Counterpunch, May 20):

By publishing Tony Kushner's rebuttal of Sylvie Drake's negative review of "Julius Caesar," The Times is guilty of, in Brutus' words, "a several bastardy."

To put Kushner's comments into perspective, not only did Oskar Eustis direct Kushner's "Millennium Approaches" at the Taper, Too last year, but he has also directed many of Kushner's other plays and they are close friends.

This looks like a case of mutual back scratching to this put-upon theatergoer. It's like asking George Bush to investigate his own involvement in the Iran-Contra affair.

I paid for my ticket to the Taper's "Julius Caesar" and was appalled at what I saw. I did not see "a daring exploration of the deepest meanings of the text," as Kushner asserts. What I saw was a grab bag of hip, current images that had no logical relationship and served only to obscure the text.

It was a passionless evening onstage and a painful one in the audience. Someone heckled from the audience toward the end of the first act: "Speak the speech." There could be no clearer warning against this silly, terribly-pleased-with-itself production.

MARTIN SAMPSON

Beverly Hills

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