Page 4 - Caesar Americanus

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DAVID DAWSON
It’s an exciting story, tightly plotted and
fast paced. It anticipates many developments
that have in fact been driven by advances in
technology and media, starting with the “war
room” in the White House and the 24/7 news
cycle, i.e., ongoing manipulation of the media.
Caesar Americanus
also portrayed, in 1968, a
criminal in the Presidency, above the law, using
all his power to stay in power - a scenario that
unfolded just a few years later. It raises many
interesting questions that seem, in many ways,
more relevant today than they did forty years
ago.
Obviously this play could be updated to be
based on Internet technology. In fact, the
scenario in the play is more plausible now than
it might have been then. Perhaps, for this reason,
it should
not
be updated, allowing it to retain its
prophetic character.
Caesar Americanus
was staged at the Winter
Workshop of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in
the 1970’s, directed by the playwright.
Dawson wrote two other politically themed
plays during this period. One,
The Objector
, is
about a young man who turns eighteen, and
decides not to register for the draft. He is not
clear about the “issues”, but feels the need to
clarify them before making such an important
decision. The situation is complicated by the fact
that his father is appointed to the Joint Chiefs
of Staff on the same day. The other play, which
was intended to be a musical play, and for which
music was in fact written by Jackie Reinach and