Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is about the fragility of democracy. The institutions we have grown up with, that we have inherited from the struggle of many generations of our ancestors, can be swept away in no time at all. The difficulty of determining Julius Caesar’s protagonist—there are at least four candidates—is not a formal weakness of the play but rather essential to its structure. This master class will examine the play in light of its recent, controversial production in Central Park, and also explore the role of theater in contemporary American culture.
Oskar Eustis has been Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to the development of new plays as a director, dramaturg, and producer. He directed world premieres of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Rinne Groff’s Compulsion and The Ruby Sunrise, Larry Wright’s The Human Scale, as well as Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home and Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, both recipients of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production. He also directed world premieres of plays by Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang, Emily Mann, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ellen McLaughlin, and Eduardo Machado, among many others. Eustis is currently Professor of Dramatic Writing and Arts and Public Policy at New York University and has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University.