Meryl Streep is known for transforming herself into distinct personalities like Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher, but it turns out that the role of a lifetime was in front of her the whole time: Donald Trump. Streep donned orange makeup, a false stomach, and a distinctly Trumpian coiffure to imitate the presidential nominee at the Public Theater’s Gala. She was joined by Christine Baranski, dressed as Hillary Clinton, to perform a very unorthodox rendition of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from Kiss Me, Kate.
Streep’s appearance is certainly outrageous enough, but she also nails the little details that make Trump Trump, including his Queens accent, distinct hand gestures, and hatred of women. Oskar Eustis, the theater’s artistic director, told the New York Times that the performance was entirely Streep’s idea and that the final result was a surprise to organizers: “None of us had seen her in costume or makeup, till she walked out tonight.”
“Brush Up Your Shakespeare” is usually sung by two male performers, as the original deals with advice for impressing women using the language of the Bard. The lyrics underwent a few alterations to better suit the Clinton-Trump dynamic, with Baranski offering advice that works just as well for wooing voters as wooing women. One new line? “We could make a deal—you’ll let me know—why it is all the women say no.”