Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice

Scott Wentworth as Shylock

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is one of his most powerful plays, but also one of the most controversial penned by the famed 16th century playwright. Its portrayal of the moneylender Shylock has been seen as anti-Semitic.

Consequently, in recent years this play has not been staged that frequently.

However, this summer the Stratford Festival is presenting Merchant of Venice in a production set in Italy of the 1930s. The play, under the artistic direction of Antoni Cimolini, has a cast that includes Scott Wentworth as Shylock, Tom McCamus as Antonio, Michelle Giroux as Portia, Tyrell Crews as Bassanio and many other talented actors. The play is being presented from July 30th to October 18th at the Festival Theatre on the banks of Stratford’s River Avon.

2013 Stratford Festival: The Merchant of Venice

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl of Beth Tzedec Congregation and Reverend Karen Hamilton, of the Canadian Council of Churches have developed a special program to see and discuss The Merchant of Venice at Stratford. They have reserved 40 premium seating tickets for the 2:00 PM performance on Tuesday, August 13th.

Following the performance, a private meeting with Antoni Cimolini, the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, has been arranged for a discussion and/or question and answer period concerning the play as well as a possible panel discussion about the actual or perceived anti-Semitic theme of the play.

Included in the price are the ticket and a kosher boxed dinner, which will include cold poached salmon, rice, vegetables and dessert. The total cost for the ticket, dinner and the special post-performance discussion is $90 per person.

If you or any of your friends/congregation are interested in seeing this play and delving into its background, context and themes, please contact Jerry Grammer at putting “Merchant of Venice” in the subject line. As indicated we have 40 tickets and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Photo and video courtesy of the Stratford Festival,