Yesterday evening a small but impassioned crowd of theater lovers and censorship haters gathered around The Alamo in Astor Place to show their support for the Public Theatre, which has come under fire—and lost two big corporate sponsors—for this summer's free production of Julius Caesar in Central Park.

Shakespeare's play, which was written sometime around 1599, has been a popular one with theatre companies around the country this season, presumably for its suddenly-relevant examination of the dangers of authoritarian rule. But it was the Public's version, with its contemporary staging, graphic assassination scene, and doomed emperor who bears a resemblance to President Trump, that stoked the ire of Brietbart, Fox News, and right-wing tweeters. In light of the controversy, both Delta and Bank of American pulled their sponsorship of the production, setting what the organizers of last night's "Ides of June" action see as a dangerous precedent.

"It was just sort of crazy that there was no forum for New Yorkers to say 'wait, we support the Public,'" said Jesse Oxfeld, a writer and editor. "Companies make these decisions [to drop sponsorships] because it seems like an easy solution to a PR problem, but I think it's important for people on the other side to stand up and say, 'Hey, we're here too and we're also your customers and we care about these things.'"

Other participants were more blunt in their criticism of what they saw as corporate cowardice. "I'm saddened that corporations feel that they are so weak that they have to pull out their sponsorship for something like free Shakespeare," said theater artist Sarah Smithton. "It's sad and it's pathetic that they could be bullied so easily."

The rally lasted a little over an hour, with about fifty people cheering on a series of speakers in Astor Place before marching the half-block to the Public Theater on Lafayette. There was some chanting ("Fox and Friends it's not so hard; Take some time to read the Bard"), some singing (a semi-rousing rendition of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth"), and plenty of theater-geek banter to go along with the anger.