STAGE TUBE: First Look - Arsenal Center for the Arts' MERCHANT OF VENUS, Now Playing

MERCHANT OF VENUS, a re-imagination of William Shakespeare's MERCHANT OF VENICE, adapted and directed by Mark Bourbeau will play the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA. Black Box Theatre Thu, June 6 at 3pm; Fri June 7 at 8pm; Sat, June 8 at 3 & 8pm; Sun, June 9 at 3pm; Thu, June 13 at 8pm; Fri June 14 at 8pm; Sat, June 15 at 3 & 7pm; Sun, June 16 at 3pm. Check out a first look below!

Tickets available at $46 - $52, Promo code "zeropoint" for discount.

Zero Point Theater brings over 30 actors, jazz musicians, and professional dancers to the black box of the Arsenal Center for the Arts for its re-imagination of William Shakespeare's classic. This thought-provoking new production directed by Mark Bourbeau takes place in a 1920's Venice with the feel of Prohibition-era New Orleans. The milieu of masks and carnival celebrations conceals a world of ruthless business enterprise.

Perhaps the most striking change to Shakespeare's original is casting veteran actress Miranda Craigwell in the controversial role of Shylock. Shylock's portrayal as a black Jewish woman serves to compound the character's struggles as an extremely marginalized member of society, presenting an interesting viewpoint on what could push such a person into apparently villainous behavior. Our Shylock is someone for whom economic dominance is the only power available in a difficult culture.

Zero Point's version also features unique expositions of the other main characters. Antonio, the titular Merchant, (played variously by Cliff Blake and Tom Beyer) monetizes love and as a result turns his power against himself. Brilliant Portia, (played by Anneke Reich) who as a woman can't be respected for her mind, or even pick her own mate, can only really feel fully alive through playing a man, and marries Bassanio as a sort of consolation prize.


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