Shakespeare Forum to Present THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Begin. 5/22

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Shakespeare Forum to Present THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Begin. 5/22

The Shakespeare Forum follows up its acclaimed production of Love's Labours Lost last summer with its take on THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Co-directed by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie and Sybille Bruun, previews begin May 22 at The Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson Street, for an opening night set for Thursday, May 29.

In THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Antonio, the titular merchant, borrows money from Shylock to help a friend woo a wealthy maiden. Antonio secures the loan with a pound of his own flesh as collateral. Will true love win out or will Shylock come, knife in hand, to claim his pound of flesh?

"THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is a play about class, appearances, preconceptions and facades," notes co-director Andrew Borthwick-Leslie. "In Venice, much like in New York City, people struggle daily to keep up their images, to steel themselves to meet the financial and social demands of urban society while their true desires languish unattended. Our production will focus on what is unspoken, the void created between characters trying to conceal their humanity in order to maintain expectations." Co-director Sybille Brun adds," In this play, as in life, misconceptions, prejudice and intolerance are born out of the characters' inability to speak the truth in their hearts and face the possibility that maybe no human is meant to face the world in isolation."

The production stars Dominic Comperatore (Tony Award winning A View >From the Bridge on Broadway), Joseph J. Menino (9 seasons at Jean Cocteau Rep), Francis Mateo (Shakespeare in the Park's Mother Courage), Hannah Goalstone (Ode to Joy written/directed by Craig Lucas), John Smiley, Zach Libresco, Imani Jade Powers, Sarah Hankins, Lash Dooley, Michael Moreno, Bill Coyne and Gabriel Lawrence with set and lighting by Marie Yokoyama and costumes by Brittany Merola.

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