Shakespeare Repertory Struggling to Decide Which Play Will Draw Most Obvious Political Parallels
by Ben Kaye. @TheBenKaye.
PITTSBURGH - In a press statement released this afternoon, Shakespeare Repertory Company Artistic Director Paul Hartley expressed concerns over the company’s difficulty in choosing a summer production that would provide the laziest, most obvious comparisons to the current political discourse possible.
“It’s a tough position to be in,” Hartley elaborated, dressed in the same black turtleneck he’s been wearing since his hiring back in 1983. “We’re looking for that perfect play from the canon that provides just enough resonance to our current political conversation to make us seem relevant, without doing any other dramaturgical heavy-lifting whatsoever. It’s real ‘bottom of the barrel’ social commentary here, and the crowds just eat it up. It’s an artistic director’s dream.”
Audiences may remember previous Shakespeare Rep productions such as 2017’s Romeo & Juliet, where the Capulets represented Democrats and the Montagues represented Republicans, and 2018’s Much Ado About Nothing where all the female characters inexplicably wore pink pussyhats for no reason whatsoever.
“Shakespeare feels more relevant than ever in these unprecedented times,” added Literary Manager Sheila McCarthy, sitting atop a throne of unread new play submissions. “That’s what I tell myself to help sleep at night, at least. We’re really just looking for that beautiful moment where our entirely white audience of elderly patrons gazes upon our poor display of political commentary, and utters a simple “huh’ to emphasize ‘Yep, that’s definitely something I recognize from last night’s CNN.’”
Managing Director Darrell Jenkins expressed some glimmer of hope, noting that the theater had a long history of using the work of Shakespeare to address a litany of societal issues, all while operating within a $10 million budget and paying their front-of-house staff less-than minimum wage.
“I’m not too worried, really. I mean, we could literally just take any of the history plays and put all the characters in modern dress and just hope something sticks,” Jenkins added. “Half our subscriber base couldn’t even tell you the difference between Henry IV Part 1 and Henry IV Part 2, it’s all just words to them.”
At the time of this statement, Hartley admitted that they’ll likely just produce Hamlet for the hell of it, adding “I dunno...Claudius is gonna wear a Trump hat, that’ll do it for ‘em.”