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2017/07/21 第180期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 For Flint, Ibsen Play From 1882 Is 'Exactly What We're Living'易卜生名作「人民公敵」 今日美國弗林特市
Why ‘Julius Caesar’ Speaks to Politics Today. With or Without Trump.「凱撒大帝」長得像川普? 早有先例
For Flint, Ibsen Play From 1882 Is 'Exactly What We're Living'易卜生名作「人民公敵」 今日美國弗林特市
文/Monica Davey

The play was written in 1882, originally set in a small town in Norway — about as removed as imaginable from the daily struggles of this Michigan city. But as an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” played out over the weekend on a basketball court in a building that was once a Flint elementary school, the echoes were uncanny.

A doctor discovers a tainted water supply and speaks up about it. Some leaders question the findings and try to keep the news quiet, and the doctor is widely mocked.



“So we have animals in the water that nobody can see?” one character says, incredulous.

Since revelations of Flint’s tainted water emerged almost two years ago, this old play has drawn new interest around the nation. Adaptations are now planned on Broadway, at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and elsewhere.



But the version performed here — “Public Enemy: Flint” — by a collaboration of theater companies from Los Angeles to London, found personal, painful resonance in the risers around this gymnasium-turned-theater. For a few hours, the residents of Flint were able to sit back and watch someone else grapple with the sort of problems that have consumed their city.

“What I’m telling you is, the water at the resort is contaminated. I mean contaminated. Polluted. Impure,” says one of the play’s central characters, Dr. Stockmann.



“For something that was written 130 years ago, it was really so true, so dead-on,” said Janice Mosley, who moved to Flint decades ago and watched the play from a front row on Friday night. “They talked about exactly what we’re living.”

The outlines of the adaptation here were not far from Ibsen’s original: the story of a town doctor discovering tainted water at a resort that the town has envisioned as its economic savior.



The play’s central struggles mirror those that unfolded here after Flint, struggling to save money, switched water supplies in 2014, and residents began complaining of peculiar smells, colors and illnesses. When do you believe someone who says a water system is tainted, and when do you tell everyone? Are whistleblowers heroes or enemies?

“This city will face ruin,” the mayor in Ibsen’s play tells Dr. Stockmann when the doctor insists that the public must be told of the tainted water. “And it’ll be your fault.”



Why ‘Julius Caesar’ Speaks to Politics Today. With or Without Trump.「凱撒大帝」長得像川普? 早有先例
文/Michael Cooper

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” has always been about more than killing Julius Caesar.

On the eve of World War II, Orson Welles staged a landmark anti-fascist production with a Mussolini-like Caesar. The Royal Shakespeare Company recently set the play in Africa, powerfully evoking the continent’s dictators and civil wars. Five years ago, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis staged a production featuring the assassination of an Obama-esque Caesar by a group of right-wing conspirators.



But it is the Public Theater in New York that finds itself in the middle of a pitched controversy, for its new staging of the play at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, the director, chose to make his Caesar decidedly Trumpian, giving him a shock of hair, an overlong red tie and a wife with a recognizably Slovenian accent. As all Caesars are, he is killed in the middle of the play — bloodily — by Brutus and his band of co-conspirators.

That killing has driven Delta Air Lines and Bank of America to pull all or part of their sponsorship of the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park program, and thrust the theater into a maelstrom of criticism from President Donald Trump’s supporters.



“Julius Caesar,” with assassination at its core, is politically fraught, and subject to multiple interpretations. The play was written during a tense moment when Elizabethan England seethed with political plots. In Catherine the Great’s Russia, copies of the play were removed from bookstores. Over the years, totalitarian regimes have banned or bowdlerized it. And audiences and scholars have long debated the play’s meaning, and the extent to which Shakespeare was sympathizing with the conspirators or condemning them.

“One thing about Shakespeare’s plays that makes them so alive is that they are extremely labile,” said Stephen Greenblatt, a Shakespeare scholar. “They go in a lot of different directions, and ‘Julius Caesar’ is a strong, extreme case of this.”



Not that the play, in which the increasingly powerful Caesar is killed in the name of saving the republic, is pro-assassination. On this, most Shakespeare scholars agree.

“I think the general drift of it is: Be careful, you might get what you want,” Greenblatt said, noting the chaos and bloodshed the assassination unleashes. “The very thing that you think you’re doing to protect the republic can lead to the end of the republic.”

Leaders have been fascinated by the work. George Washington saw a production of the drama in 1790. Nelson Mandela annotated a copy when he was imprisoned on Robben Island for fighting apartheid in South Africa.







荊軻刺秦王是很典型的例子,動詞翻譯用kill不是不行但略嫌陽春,assassinate就貼切得多。由於「惜哉劍術疏,奇功遂不成」,刺殺任務只能說是a failed assassination attempt,荊軻則是刺客(assassin)。儘管姓名被當成劇名,莎劇學者咸認凱撒只是titular hero,行刺的Brutus反而才是本劇的tragic hero。此為後話。


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