Tag Archives: judaism

The Power of Reimagining: “Merchant” in Theresienstadt (Terezin)

Re-imagining Shakespeare is not a new concept. Just recently, the Dartmouth College Department of Theater reimagined Romeo and Juliet as a more experimental production, setting it in a rehearsal studio and using video cameras to record the action, so that the audience watches the actors both on stage and on monitors and a large video screen. Peter Hackett, the director of the winter main stage, wanted to highlight the less-obvious more salient aspects that are not as often explored in a traditional Shakespearean manner. Challenging the conventional view, Hackett wanted the audience to ponder and be critical of what was being presented to them on stage. “It forces you as an audience not to sit back and have your expectations met. … I hope the effect is that it makes you listen to what is being said,” Hackett said.

In Mobile Carnival Theatre Company’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, director Brent Murrill, like Dartmouth theater director Peter Hackett, reimagined Shakespeare’s traditional setting in a more contemporary fixture.

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Hath not a Jew banks?

The Rothschild family has been recently highlighted in the media due to the very recent nuptials of young James Rothschild to Nicky Hilton, “hotel heiress” daughter to the famous Hilton family, and sister to the infamous reality star and socialite Paris Hilton. The two were married this past weekend on July 10th. Although Hilton is likely a more familiar name to many Americans (or at least associated with more notoriety), the Rothschild family has a history much longer and a fortune much grander than the Hiltons’.

In fact, the Rothschild family is one of the oldest and largest banking families in the world. They also happen to be Jewish. Continue reading

Genesis in Shakespeare

Image: “Jacob and Laban”, Jean Restout II (1692-1768), Before 1737

Shakespeare was no dope: his writing reflects his deep understanding of the cumulative nature of storytelling and the intense influences of early texts, including the bible, on modern writing. The Merchant of Venice synthesizes this relationship, borrowing from the bible in order to comment on the anti-Semitism that was prevalent in Elizabethan England. In particular, Shakespeare incorporates a story from Genesis directly into the play during an argument between Shylot and Antonio over the correct interest rate to charge. This story, involving an agreement reached between Jacob and his uncle Laban, not only serves as fodder for Shylot’s argument, but also additionally provides historical and biblical firepower to the story of Shylot’s downfall and eventual ‘salvation’. Continue reading