NYC Theater refuses to buckle after Trump criticism
(VIN) The knives are out for a new edgy production of “Julius Caesar” that’s cutting a little too close to home for some fans of the White House.
Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship of The Public Th ater’s version of “Julius Caesar” that portrays a Donald Trump-like dictator in a business suit with a long tie who gets knifed to death onstage.
The Public refused to back down on Monday, saying in a statement that it stands “completely behind” the production. It noted that its staging has “provoked heated discussion” but that “such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”
Other defenders included Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, who sarcastically tweeted to both Delta and Band of America: “What a mistake. Actually reading Julius Caesar might help in the future. Your copy is in the mail.”
This modern-day Caesar’s violent death at the hands of conspirators comes not long after comedian Kathy Griffi was widely condemned for posing for a graph in which she gripped a bloodied rendering of Trump’s head.
Th ugh the Public’s version of William Shakespeare’s classic play is unchanged from its 400-yearold original, the production portrays Caesar with a gold bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife. Trump’s name is never mentioned but backlash was swift
On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a Fox News story about the play and wrote, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
Delta responded by saying “artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste.” American Express said it was not pulling funding but in a statement Monday said, “we do not condone this interpretation of the play.”
Bank of America claimed it was bamboozled. It said the Public chose to present the play “to provoke and offend” without the bank’s knowledge: “Had this intention been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it.”
“Julius Caesar” ends its run Sunday. The comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” begins in the park on July 11 under the direction of Lear deBessonet.
In this May 21, 2017 provided by The Public Theater, Tina Benko, left, portrays Melania Trump and Gregg Henry, center left, portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Julius Caesar during a dress rehearsal.