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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Misdirected Merchant
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1564  Wednesday, 23 August 2000.

From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Aug 2000 14:42:47 GMT
Subject:        Misdirected Merchant

Knowing there are some listmembers in the Charleston, South Carolina
area, I'll note briefly the current production of *The Merchant of
Venice* at the College of Charleston. This was the first time I've seen
the play staged. It was performed on a large map of southern Europe. On
the back wall was a large copy of Caravaggio's painting, Abraham
Sacrificing Isaac.

While I liked the setting, I thought the performances were misdirected.
In particular, Antonio was far too mellow to be the character who would
spit at Shylock and call him names. I wondered whether his
characterization was to lessen the abuse of Shylock, ameliorating a
charge of anti-Semitism. If so, I think that's a mistake. A Shylock
fully motivated by Antonio's malice would seem, to me, less
anti-Semitic. I never thought I'd see a Merchant for which my main
criticism is that it is too nice.

Jack Heller

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