Is Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, a villain or a victim? For one night, watch award-winning actor Guy Masterson debate the question in Shylock, as he explores the controversial character. A lot has happened since Shakespeare (who only included two Jews in all of his works) wrote the play around 1596, and Masterson attempts to use all of it, im-personating Shylock as famous and infamous historical characters, including Portia, Dracula, Barabbas, and, of course, Adolf Hitler. Shylock’s only friend, Tubal, explores how through these impersonations we can best understand Shylock’s conundrum, because there was more to his story than just greed and revenge. He was already going through a pretty rough time: Sure, Antonio owed him money, but Antonio had also insulted and spat on Shylock, and helped Shylock’s daughter run away with Lorenzo and become a Christian — after stealing money and jewels from her father. This is certainly a comedy, but at the heart of the theatrical production lies serious questions about anti-Semitism in history and in theater. Writer and director Gareth Armstrong calls it “a theatrical, glorified lecture,” which sounds just about right.
Fri., March 8, 8 p.m., 2013