with ISABEL ARRAIZA, DANAYA ESPERANZA, IAN LASSITER, AJAY NAIDU, ALFREDO NARCISO, GRAHAM WINTON
and JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON
FIVE SCENES/FOUR ACTS/TWO DAYS
Directed by ARIN ARBUS
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27 @ 7–8PM
Act I, Scene III; Act II, Scenes III & V; Act III, Scene I
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30 @ 3–4PM
Act 4, Scene 1: The Trial
Click here to watch Saturday’s live recording now through February 3 at 10pm EST.
The fruitful collaboration of actor John Douglas Thompson and director Arin Arbus at Theatre for a New Audience has led to acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s Othello (2009) and Macbeth (2011), and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Strindberg’s The Father in rotating repertory (2016).
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice with Mr. Thompson as Shylock directed by Ms. Arbus is their next project. This remarkable play has provoked controversy for centuries: is it an anti-Semitic work and Shylock a wicked, toxic monster; or a multi-faceted play about prejudice and hatred in which Shylock and all the characters are human, complex, and flawed?
As well, Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean, historian and author, observes:
“There is no internal evidence in the text of Shakespeare’s play that indicates how Shylock is meant to look. That he could therefore have closely resembled the Christian Antonio is, … a potential meaning of Portia’s courtroom question: ‘Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?’ (The line could alternatively, of course, be meant to elicit a laugh or to suggest that before the law, all parties are equal, no matter how different they appear to be.)” — 2010, New York Review of Books
A diverse company of actors will grapple with the play and look at five scenes in four acts over two days. These are explorations—sharing first steps in our journey towards a full production which we plan to do next season once theatres reopen. Talk backs with the artists moderated by Jeffrey Horowitz, TFANA’s Founding Artistic Director, will follow each event.
SUPPORT ARTISTS AND CULTURAL WORKERS
Theatre artists and workers have been deeply impacted by the shutdown.
TFANA is joining forces with many NYC arts and cultural organizations to contribute to the joint Cultural Solidarity Fund
, which will provide direct $500 relief grants to individual artists and cultural workers.
With a challenge grant from The Indie Theater Fund, TFANA is joining the cultural community to raise a minimum of $75,000 to provide these grants.
TFANA is committed to raising $5,000, which would support 10 grants to artists and cultural workers. All contributions generated by this event will support the Cultural Solidarity Fund.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:
ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION
AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.
Theatre for a New Audience’s 2020–21 Season is Dedicated to the Memory of Terrence McNally, American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter.
Deloitte and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the 2020-2021 Season Sponsors.
Theatre for a New Audience’s Artists & Community Series is presented under the auspices of the Merle Debuskey Studio Program. The program is named for Merle Debuskey, legendary press agent and long-time TFANA Board Member and advocate, through a bequest from his estate.
Merle was an influential force on and off Broadway for decades, notably as chief promoter of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park. He represented hundreds of shows, including the Broadway hits “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “A Chorus Line,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He served as President of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers for many years.