(L-R) Attendee Alec Baldwin, and Artistic director of the Public Theater Oskar Eustis – Getty Images/Ilya S. SavenokAfter two companies dropped their sponsorship of the production, New York’s Public Theater is standing by its controversial production of Julius Caesar, in which the title character, a Donald Trump lookalike, is assassinated on stage.
“We stand completely behind our production of Julius Caesar,” the nonprofit theater company wrote in a statement obtained by ABC News. “We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”
The statement went on to say, “Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare’s play, and our production, make the opposite point: Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save. For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park.”
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship of the production over the weekend following an outcry over the production on Twitter.
In the Public Theater’s version of Shakespeare’s classic play, Caesar, played by Gregg Henry, is portrayed as a Trump lookalike with a gold bathtub and a wife with a Slavic accent, reminiscent of Melania Trump.
In the play’s third act, Caesar is knifed to death on stage by a group of women and minorities.
The Public Theater’s Julius Caesar began in previews May 23 and is scheduled to run until June 18.
@bapwinterNo matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare (cont)… *ALS
— Delta (@Delta) June 12, 2017
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