The showing of Shakespeare in the Park in New York’s Central Park became the subject of nationwide headlines following Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer’s disruption of the play, which features the assassination of a Donald Trump lookalike.
But that staging – by New York’s Public Theater – isn’t the only one to receive threats and protests from right-wing activists.
Threatening emails and letters have been sent to several other Shakespeare companies around the country just for bearing the playwright’s name.
The Boston Globe reports Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA was inundated with a hate mail, phone messages and social media complaints meant for the Central Park play.
The company told the Globe they got 40 messages, including one potential death threat. One angry letter campaigner wished for “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.”
Theatrical companies in New York and Washington, DC, received no shortage of venomous emails and tweets accusing them of enabling the violence in Alexandria, which saw House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others shot.
Shakespeare Dallas’ operator Raphael Perry says that his theater received 80 complaints, including some wishing rape and death upon the theater’s staff.
Per the Globe, one letter writer expressed a desire to see theater staff “sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.”
“It’s pretty amazing the vitriol, the wishing we would die and our family would die,” said Parry. “A whole lot of them say that we should burn in hell.”
Previous adaptations of the controversial play depicted presidents other than Trump, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini as stand-ins for Julius Caesar, who is stabbed to death by his cohorts in the play’s pivotal scene.
There is speculation as to why Shakespeare companies across the country that have nothing to do with the controversial play in Central Park are receiving threats. The simplest is stupidity.
“First of all, they clearly are not people who have seen the show or been to our theater,” said Michael Kahn of Shakespeare Theatre Company.
“I’m assuming that some letter’s gone out to a lot of people, and people got confused and decided to write to different Shakespeare theaters.”
Parry suggests that these angry individuals could simply be keying in “Shakespeare in the Park” into Google, where they’ll find listings for local theaters ahead of the one in New York.