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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: October ::
Re: Banning *MV*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0813.  Thursday, 19 October 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Douglas Abel Drama <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Oct 1995 14:09:51 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0802  Qs: *MV*
 
(2)     From:   Nat Colley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 09:58:51 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0805 Re: *MV* as Ba...
 
(3)     From:   Karin Magaldi-Unger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 08:46:50 U
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0805  Re- *MV* as Banned Play
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Abel Drama <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Oct 1995 14:09:51 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 6.0802  Qs: *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0802  Qs: *MV*
 
On banning of Merchant of Venice:
 
There was a big controversy in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario, about 1988. The
accusation by some parents was that studying the play was making kids
anti-semitic.  They were apparently doing things like throwing pennies at
Jewish kids in the schoolyard.  The story made one edition of CBC television's
Monitor series.
 
For more info, contact me personally.
 
Douglas Abel
Keyano College
Fort McMurray, Alberta

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403-791-8983
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nat Colley <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 09:58:51 -0400
Subject: 6.0805 Re: *MV* as Ba...
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0805 Re: *MV* as Ba...
 
Brad Berens responded to Jan Kraft and then asked about a theater journal that
discussed MV, the name of which he could not recall. American Theater did a
cover story on MV this summer. Perhaps that is the publication you are thinking
of? The article is called "Wrestling with Shylock" and is in the July/August
1995 issue.
 
Nat Colley
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karin Magaldi-Unger <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Oct 1995 08:46:50 U
Subject: 6.0805  Re- *MV* as Banned Play
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0805  Re- *MV* as Banned Play
 
A response to Jan Kraft & Brad Berens regarding The Merchant of Venice:
 
I work at Shakespeare Santa Cruz (I am the Education & Outreach person) & lived
through the "controversy" of which Brad speaks. We initiated several
opportunities for dialogue within the community as a means of examining
intolerance in addition to attending the actual production:
 
--a version of the play that toured local high schools & was preceeded by an
  extensive curriculum guide;
--an open forum in Santa Cruz with historians, a local rabbi and the director
  of the play;
--post-show discussions between the cast, invited community members and
  audiences;
--a weekend conference with Dr. James Shapiro of Columbia University as the
  keynote speaker;
--public radio discussion with community members & the director
--program material that addressed intolerance, etc. etc.
 
Several brief thoughts:
 
* Part of Danny Scheie's concept was to expose the intolerance in the play not
only of Shylock but of the love relationship between Antonio & Bassanio. The
anti-semitism in the play was not overshadowed by the romance plot, rather the
emphasis on both highlighted the hypocritical nature of the Venician quality of
mercy.
 
* You might try contacting Dr. James Shapiro at Columbia: his knowledge of the
play and response to it post-holocaust is extensive. Just before he came to
speak at our Festival, he attended and reviewed a very exciting Israeli
production of the play. M of V is alive and well in Israel.
 
* John Gross' book SHYLOCK is a helpful compendium of the legacy of
Shakespeare's character for the Western world and includes some performance
history you can use.
 
* The article Brad refers to appeared in the July/August 1995 issue of AMERICAN
THEATRE. (While the comparison of four recent productions of M of V is
interesting, you might find the analysis of the issues somewhat simplistic).
 
* The group, People for the American Way, in Washington D.C. is another source
you may find helpful. They research and document instances of censorship in the
arts. Our production, as well as others were covered in one of their recent
publications.
 
Karin Magaldi-Unger
Education & Outreach
Shakespeare Santa Cruz
 

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