Central Park's 'Julius Caesar' depicts Roman dictator as Trump

Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is a political thriller and the version now being performed by The Public Theater in Central Park doesn't skimp on drama.

In this case, though, the drama isn't about the plot, which was written some 400 years ago, but about the way Julius Caesar, an ancient Roman dictator, is depicted: in a business suit with an American flag pin, a long tie, and reddish-blond hair.

In Shakespeare's story, Caesar is violently stabbed in the back by rival politicians, and the fact that this version's Caesar bears a striking resemblance to President Trump is raising eyebrows.

"I don't advocate violence on the president of the U.S. no matter what party they're in," said Pamela Sims, who was waiting in line for free tickets outside the Delacorte Theater.

"It's just concerning we're seeing more and more violent rhetoric towards our president in the form of the arts and Hollywood," said Chris Caulfield, who is visiting from Texas. "We all need to take a deep breath and remember most of us are somewhere in the middle."

Despite those opinions, the majority of people waiting in line for tickets to the play say they think the director should have creative license to tell the story as he pleases.

"If Trump is drawing parallels in history so be it," said Amy Cohen, in line for tickets. "But this was here long before, Shakespeare is often done in different time frames, so I don't find anything inappropriate about it."

Sam Franco, also waiting, agreed. "Art is provocative, theater is provocative," he said. "They're meant to make us reflect and make us think, they're not made to make us sit comfortably."

The Public Theater declined to be interviewed for our story, but in an online video, director Oskar Eustis acknowledges the parallels between the current state of politics and the original script.

"We are living in the time when there's a huge amount of uncertainty about what the future of our democracy is, so I thought trying to do a play written 400 years ago about 2,000 years ago that actually grappled with a moment of political instability and change would be exciting," Eustis says in the web video.

It's unlikely the controversy will impact attendance to the play. Shakespeare in the Park is a highly anticipated event, limited-run event, and hundreds of people line up for free tickets each day. "Julius Caesar" runs through June 18.