'Julius Caesar' director defends play, does not condone violence

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The director of the controversial production of "Julius Caesar" featuring a Donald Trump-like main character killed onstage is defending the show against its critics.

Director Oskar Eustis addressed the audience at Monday night's opening saying neither Shakespeare nor the city's nonprofit Public Theater could "possibly advocate violence as a solution to political problems, and certainly not assassination."

Controversy over the work has prompted Delta Air Lines and Bank of America to pull their sponsorship of the show that's being performed as part of Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park.

A senior employee of the New York Public Theatre spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, echoing Eustis' remarks.

"I do believe that sponsors are not seeing what we are saying because of the reactionary response” by numerous media outlets and critics the source told us.

The source added that the creative staff believe they are portraying “the story of what happens when one attempts to overthrow the government.”

When asked whether the assassination is a metaphor for the reaction of Washington to Trump, and the reaction from the DC establishment to the man elected to “Drain the Swamp” that some have likened to a bloodless coup attempt, the source replied, “It could be said that our depiction is a view into what could happen by tyrants over an elected leader.”

With the exception of modernizing the costumes to power suits and ties, the Public Theatre creative staff believes it stayed “very true to the script of Julius Caesar.”

“Yet at no point is violence rewarded,” the source said, “We made sure that we told the story of the failure when tyrants attempt to control our leaders.”

The Public Theatre stands “completely behind” the controversial portrayal.  "We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater. Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone,” the theatre said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.