Sunday night marks the scheduled end of the controversial production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in Central Park that depicts the assassination of a President Donald Trump doppelgänger.
The Public Theater, which staged the play, said there had been “an overwhelming demand” for the final weekend of the show, which opened May 23 and lost several corporate sponsors amid an uproar.
Delta and Bank of America withdrew their corporate support of the open-air production, after Trump’s family took to social media to object to Trump’s depiction.
The director, Oskar Eustis, was defiant. In a statement, Eustis said, “Julius Caesar is about how fragile democracy is. The institutions that we have grown up with, that we have inherited from the struggle of many generations of our ancestors, can be swept away in no time at all.”
During Friday night’s production, the play was disrupted at about 9:47 p.m. by Laura Loomer, 24, according to Officer Tiffany Phillips, an NYPD spokeswoman.
A social media stream of the incident shows Loomer shouting, “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!” She objected to a bloody scene in the play where the title character is knifed to death.
The crowd booed, the production was paused as she continued: “Stop the violence against Donald Trump! Shame on the New York City public theater for doing this!”
A confederate, who was not arrested, added: “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!” a reference to the Louisiana congressman shot Wednesday during baseball practice in Virginia.
The confederate screamed at the audience, likening members to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist.
In a statement, the theater said: “While we are champions of the First Amendment, this interruption unfortunately was part of a paid strategy driven by social media.”
Neither the director nor the protesters could be reached Saturday for comment, and a man who answered the phone at the theater directed inquiries to the show website.
Loomer was issued summonses for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief and freed, Phillips said.
Shakespeare wrote the play about the Roman dictator more than 400 years ago, and past productions have depicted the main character with contemporary figures. A 2012 production in Minnesota portrayed Caesar as a Barack Obama look-alike.