Parson’s Nose Theater (PNT) rounds off its 2018/2019 season with an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s 16th Century controversial tale of justice versus mercy, The Merchant of Venice. Adapted for PNT by Producing Artistic Director Lance Davis and directed by Managing Director Gideon Y. Schein. The Merchant of Venice runs Saturday, May 4 through Sunday June 2, 2019 with a preview night on Friday, May 3.
Lance Davis reminds us of the complexity of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “In The Merchant of Venice, the young Shakespeare again performs his magic, taking elements from Italian tales and contemporary works (Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta) and giving his own spin. Shakespeare’s Christians are not merciful heroes, and his Shylock is not a greedy villain. His story, though technically a comedy, does not end comfortably,” said Davis.
Although Parson’s Nose Theater is best known for its comedic adaptations, Davis explained his inspiration for including it in the season, “I decided to adapt The Merchant of Venice when we’d just come back from a trip to Provence where I couldn’t help but be struck by the history of overwhelming Christian dominance of everyday life,” he said. “Whether Catholic or Protestant, the Western world was a Christian World. Anyone else was ‘the other’ – perhaps tolerated, but also feared – and therefore tightly controlled.” “In the tiny idyllic town of Vaison la Romaine there is a sign pointing to ‘La Juiverie’, a narrow, isolated, cobbled lane – with a huge bolted gate, closed at night to seal off the inhabitants of the Jewish sector.”
“Today that sign could point to the African sector or the Asian sector, not just in the streets, but in our minds. We Americans, despite living in the ‘melting pot’, are no different. Arab, Jew, Gay, Female, Foreign, Intellectual = ‘The Other’.”
Tickets for The Merchant of Venice range from $20 to $35 and are available online at parsonsnose.org or by calling the Box Office at (626) 403-7667. Pay What You Wish A “Pay What You Wish” Preview performance is available on Friday, May 3 at 8:00 pm.
ABOUT THE MERCHANT OF VENICE The Merchant of Venice was written by Shakespeare in approximately 1596, before the History Plays, borrowing from popular tales and plays of his period. The merchant Antonio borrows money from his enemy, Shylock the Jew, to lend to his friend, Bassanio, who wishes to woo the lovely Portia and win her hand. The collateral for the loan is “a pound of Antonio’s flesh”. Antonio’s ships fail, the forfeiture is called in, and Shylock, driven to rage by the elopement of his daughter with Antonio’s Christian friend, refuses to compromise. The play has been interpreted as a reinforcement of anti-Semitism by the Nazis in Germany and for an awakening of universal cultural respect by liberal groups today. A good play leads to discussion, and The Merchant of Venice is a good play.
ABOUT PARSON’S NOSE THEATER Located in Pasadena’s historic Marston/Van Pelt chapel near City Hall, Parson’s Nose Theater performs condensed classic adaptations that present the language, characters, plot and spirit of the world’s greatest writers – not only Shakespeare, but Molière, Goldoni, Goldsmith, Boucicault – the most revered writers of Western Literature. Since April 2000, co-founders Lance Davis and Mary Chalon have introduced condensed, professional comedies to the delight of over 70,000 Angelenos. PNT is the only company in America devoted to this new way of experiencing the classics. PNT productions are intelligent and fun, reaching out to adults, seniors, teens, and bright youngsters. Performances are condensed to a 90 minutes-or-less format, including an intermission featuring refreshments and the famous, home-baked “Pat Bell” cookies.