The timeless tragedy of Dallas has often inspired thoughts of Shakespeare, most notably “MacBird!” a satire by Barbara Garson which premiered in 1967. This theatrical tradition continues in southern California with a new production, “Tragedy of JFK.”
“Conceived, adapted and directed by Daniel Henning, this world premiere presented by the Blank Theatre Co. tells of events before, during and after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It does so using the text of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” changing names and places and weaving in contemporary historical utterances to take the story into 1960s Washington, D.C., and Dallas.”
2 thoughts on “Shakespeare meets JFK”
et tu, Lyndon?
MacBird – a 1960’s anti-war book and play that had vicious things to say about Lyndon Johnson:
MacBird was a play that intimated that Lyndon Johnson was behind the JFK assassination.
“With a cast of characters including MacBird (modeled on President Lyndon B. Johnson), Ken O’Dunc (assassinated president John F. Kennedy), and the Earl of Warren (Chief Justice Earl Warren), the play was regarded as political dynamite, dividing audiences along ideological lines. The New Yorker, which had never before turned down a drama advertisement, refused to advertise MacBird; the magazine feared offending readers. Although no violent incidents occurred in the theater, the play’s audiences were vocal during its performances and in print.
President Johnson was reportedly furious about Garson’s play; however, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy—who was depicted in the play as Ken O’Dunc’s younger brother, who deposes MacBird—liked it. MacBird enjoyed sell-out crowds; by early May its backers recouped their thirty-thousand-dollar investment.”
(MacBird Summary, Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)