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If You Staff Us, Do We Not Bleed?

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For those New Yorkers whose office dramatis personae doesn’t include a cast of villainous Jews (there are villainous Christians in question here too, they just aren’t as famous), a revamp of Shakespeare is here to sate any curiosity of what that must be like (for those 3 people). Darko Tresnjak’s production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at the Duke Theater features a set design and modern dress that are meant to evoke an investment bank and imposing corporate atmosphere. The stark, harshly realistic interpretation of the play portrays an often sinister but suffering Shylock, culminating in the trail scene in which Tresnjak has Shylock hurl himself at Antonio in a vengeful fury, only to be subdued and left cowering after his yarmulke is torn off and thrown to the ground. Other notable twists of modernization include a scene in which Portia’s suitors must choose between three Mac Powerbooks instead of three caskets (seriously). Then Justin Long comes on stage and extracts the sought for pound of flesh by merely talking for an extended period of time. The play runs through March 11. Encore performances at 85 Broad Street to follow.
O, Villain, Villain, Loosed in Elizabethan Minds – [New York Times]