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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: December ::
Re: Shylock
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1228.  Thursday, 11 December 1997.

[1]     From:   Rosalind King <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 1997 18:06:42 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1222 Shylock

[2]     From:   Norm Holland <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Dec 97 15:14:01 EST
        Subj:   Re: Shylock's pounded flesh


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rosalind King <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Dec 1997 18:06:42 GMT0BST
Subject: 8.1222 Shylock
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1222 Shylock

The most interesting production I have seen was staged by Harrogate
Theatre, Yorkshire about three years ago. The play became a rehearsal
for a production of itself in a Nazi prison camp with the actors all
starving Jewish inmates under the watchful eyes of prison guards, and
their own 'capo' who urged  the others on to more and more grotesque
presentations of stereo-types of Jewishness -  all this needed no
alteration to the  text just added business.

The second half of the Harrogate production became the performance in
the camp, with the guards now occupying the side boxes in this
turn-of-the-century gilded theatre. The (Jewish stage) actor playing
Shylock had momentarily attacked one of the guards during the
'rehearsal' for his gratuitous relishing of an apple in front of them
all, and as he left the stage at the end of the Act 4 'performance' he
was shot for 'real' by one of the guards in the box. This left a dead
body on stage for the whole of Act 5, the other 'actors' not daring to
look down at it but continuing, desperately, to act the romance of the
ending. This body was still half visible under the dropped curtain at
the end of the show, which kept the entire audience (i.e. us) in our
seats for a good 5 minutes with the house lights up wondering whether
anything else would happen. It didn't. What did happen was that we all
left the theatre still debating the very issues about racisim and
unjustice that, I believe, the play asks us to consider.

Yours,
Rosalind

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norm Holland <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Dec 97 15:14:01 EST
Subject:        Re: Shylock's pounded flesh

Speaking of Shylock, has anybody besides me seen A. R. Gurney, Jr.'s
sequel to _Merchant_?  It's called, if I remember aright, _Over Time_ or
perhaps _Overtime_.  All the characters are of one ethic persuasion or
another, not just Shylock, and the play ends with Shylock and Portia
taking up residence together in her Belmont mansion.  (Gurney was my
successor teaching Shakespeare at MIT, and is very knowledgeable, as
well as an outstanding playwright.)  The play is a hoot for any
Shakespearean or even someone with a nodding acquaintance with
_Merchant_.
--Best, Norm
 

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