The Merchant 'In' Venice
Monday May 2, 2016
Presented in partnership with Centro Primo Levi NY, Compagnia de’ Colombari, Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture, the Italian Cultural Institute. On the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Venice Ghetto.
We hosted an exceptional preview reading and discussion of The Merchant of Venice which will be performed outdoors in the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo on July 26, 27, 28, 29, and 31. The New York reading of selected scenes by Reg E. Cathey with actors from the prestigious Compagnia de’ Colombari was followed by a conversation with director Karin Coonrod and Shaul Bassi on this unique coproduction that will bring The Merchant of Venice for the first time ever to the Ghetto – investigating the play’s poignant exploration of love and hate, avarice and mercy, and of being human.
Compagnia de’ Colombari is an international collective of performing artists, generating theater in surprising places. Colombari intentionally clashes cultures, traditions and art forms to bring fresh interpretation to the written word – old and new. Colombari is founded on the twin principles that the magic of great theater can happen anywhere and be made accessible to everyone.
Reg E. Cathey has appeared in, among others, The Tempest, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and The Second Shepherds’ Play. He also played in Timon of Athens, Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Taming of the Shrew at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Other notable productions include Talk (Obie Award), The Foundry Theatre; Henry IV, California Shakespeare Theater; Heresy, The Flea Theatre; and The Cure at Troy, Yale Repertory Theatre.
Karin Coonrod, Founder of Compagnia de’ Colombari is a theater director whose work is appreciated in U.S. and internationally. Together with the Compagnia, she launched a new line of theater in Orvieto, Italy. Among other works, Coonrod developed Orfeo, The World Is Round Is Round Is Round (from Gertrude Stein's children’s story), More Or Less I Am (a musical theater piece based on Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself); and Everything That Rises Must Converge (a staging of Flannery O'Connor's story).
Shaul Bassi is Associate Professor of English and postcolonial literature at Ca’Foscari University of Venice and co-founder and director of Beit Venezia: A Home for Jewish Culture. Recent publications include Visions of Venice in Shakespeare (with Laura Tosi, Ashgate, 2011), Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures (with Annalisa Oboe, Routledge, 2011); Shakespeare’s Italy and Italy’s Shakespeare. Place, ‘Race’, and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan) is forthcoming. He is currently involved in literary projects related to the 500th anniversary of the Ghetto of Venice (1516-2016).