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Dear reader,

I know what you’re thinking: “why in the name of Barack Obama did you decide to do Merchant?”  If you’re not thinking that, here’s why someone is: The Merchant of Venice is traditionally considered to be either anti-Semitic or anti-Christian. Generally Shylock (the principal Jewish character) is portrayed as a cold-hearted villain (making the playwright anti-Semitic), or the Christians are portrayed as unilaterally ignorant and oppressive (making the playwright anti-Christian).

Top: Todd Elliott as Antonio ; Bottom: Peter Nikkos as Shylock

Todd Elliott’s Antonio and Peter Nikkos’ Shylock: yin and yang.

Frankly, watching a play for two hours that hates on Jews or Christians (or anyone for that matter) doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Producing and directing a play for two months that is about hate sounds like even more of a drag.

Fortunately for me, history has it all wrong about this play. Merchant isn’t about hate; it’s about love.

Yes, it’s about romantic love. And it’s about the love between friends. And it’s about loving our enemies. Don’t worry: there will be plenty of romance, laughter, and music in our production.

But more than all these, The Merchant of Venice is about love because the play itself is an act of love. If you really read the text and let the words speak for themselves, it becomes clear that Shakespeare loved all his characters a great deal.

What if there are no heroes or villains? What if there are just people born of unique circumstances with unique perspectives, who are all doing their best? Sure, fear and hate get in the way, but love is always the goal.

Not convinced? Think I’m fighting to squeeze a dated text into the confines of my modern sensibilities?

That could be. Regardless, I dare you to come and see.

We open in two weeks – get your tickets here.




One Comment

  1. Wow, Brooke, great insight. I love your boldness and can’t wait to open this show!

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