Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Shylock Project

Renaissance scholar, best-selling author, and National Book Award winner Stephen Greenblatt speaks about Shylock at Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore this afternoon
In anticipation of next year's 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and the 500th anniversary of the founding of Venice's Jewish Ghetto, a series of performances and lectures organized under the name of The Shylock Project are currently in progress at various sites around Venice.

The ultimate aim of all of this summer's activity involving students, actors, scholars and writers is a major full-length production of The Merchant of Venice performed in the Ghetto itself in 2016. But the activities open to the public this summer are, like the entertaining lecture I attended this afternoon on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore by Stephen Greenblatt (one of the world's great Shakespeare scholars and author of the books Will in the World and The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, among many others), themselves major events.

One of the highlights of this summer's activities will surely be tomorrow night's performance of select scenes from The Merchant of Venice by New York's Colombari Theatre Company on San Giorgio Maggiore at 9 pm. But the full list of events open to the public--the last of which occurs on July 10--is worthy of consideration. A link to the complete list, and more information on the project, may be found here:

Additional information on both this summer's activities, Venice's Ghetto and its history as inspiration for them, and the plans for 2016 written by the project's driving force, Ca' Foscari professor Shaul Bassi, can be found here:

For lovers of Shakespeare and of Venice, for anyone interested in the history of the Ghetto and its representation and the complex history of Jews in Venice, this is a fantastic project.

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