Boston Court Pasadena presents the world premiere of Everything That Never Happened written by Sarah B. Mantell and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, September 27 – November 4. The production stars Leo Marks (Shylock), Erika Soto (Jessica), Paul Culos (Lorenzo) and Dylan Saunders (Gobbo).
Everything That Never Happened uses The Merchant of Venice as a jumping off point, exposing the realities of Jewish history and drawing three-dimensional characters from the stereotypes depicted in the original Shakespeare. Mantell’s fresh and time-bending story is rich with humor and heartbreak while bridging the 16th century with today and beyond. What do we lose or gain by leaving our own culture? And what sacrifices does love demand of fathers and daughters, lovers and friends? Everything That Never Happened is a play about disguise, assimilation, pomegranates, and everything Shakespeare left out.
Playwright Sarah B. Mantell explains in an interview with The Realm, what led her to re-tell this story: “It can feel daunting to take on Shakespeare for any number of reasons. William Shakespeare took a long-existing stereotype and imbued it with just enough empathy that it has lasted generations beyond his death. But it’s still a stereotype. One that has been used as an excuse to harm an entire ethnicity/religion/race/culture of people for a very long time. I wanted to write a play that allowed these characters to speak in Jewish voices for the first time. To give them back their history, their humor, their heartbreak.”
Mantell continues, “The stories we choose to tell and retell have a huge impact on how we see each other in our daily lives. I’m so deeply tired of the free pass we’ve given to the canonical. Shakespeare is brilliant and he is limited. It is possible to love something and also name the way it causes harm. And what is missing from it. I wrote Everything That Never Happened to prove to myself that that is true.”
Jessica Kubzansky says, “I fell in love with this play the moment I read it. I’m a passionate Shakespeare lover, and I had done a workshop of The Merchant of Venice but found myself wrestling mightily with both the misogyny and the anti-Semitism at the heart of that play. What I instantly fell in love with in Sarah’s play was the opportunity to meet Shylock, Jessica, Lorenzo and Gobbo as richly three-dimensional human beings, with so much humor, joy, and pain in them all. The complexity at the heart of this story about a young Jewish woman who falls in love with a Christian man and then leaves both her culture and the father she loves behind, moved me unutterably. And, what I revere about this new play is that Sarah is also a poet for the theatre, and her gorgeously vivid, fresh language lights up the world. I couldn’t be more excited to bring this play to fruition.”
Everything That Never Happened was developed at the Carlotta Festival of New Plays, Yale School of Drama (2017) and through The Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (2017). The play also received first runner-up of the Leah Ryan FEWW Emerging Playwright Prize (2017).
Boston Court Pasadena is located at 70 N Mentor Ave. Pasadena, CA 91106. Tickets, priced from $20 – $39, are available at BostonCourtPasadena.org or by calling 626.683.6801. This world premiere is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Fishman Family Foundation.
About Boston Court Pasadena
Located in Pasadena, California, Boston Court Pasadena is a nonprofit arts center primarily dedicated to new and original work by living artists. Founded in 2003 by philanthropist Z. Clark Branson, Boston Court Pasadena features a state-of-the-art, intimate facility designed to bring audiences and artists closer together. The 80-seat Marjorie Branson Performance Space and the 99-seat Main Stage serve as homes for Boston Court Pasadena’s season of bold, risky theatre and its eclectic, diverse music series. Boston Court Pasadena is also the home of an annual new play festival, an Emerging Artists Series, as well as Art Upfront, a rotating visual arts program. Boston Court is led by a 16-member Board of Directors, Executive Director Kyle Clausen, and Artistic Directors Jessica Kubzansky and Michael Michetti (Theatre), and Mark Saltzman (Music).
Key funding is provided by Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Shubert Foundation, Lazy L Foundation, The Colburn Foundation, Pasadena Arts & Cultural Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and the Z. Clark Branson Foundation.
PUBlic Discourse Night: Thursday, October 11 (all tickets include a drink token for T. Boyle’s Pub to enjoy after the show)
Community Matinee: Saturday, October 13 (all tickets for the 2pm performance are $5)
Running Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes; no intermission