The Merchant of Venice
We ended up with more than twice as many attendees as we had imagined-about 200 people. The discussion was impassioned. Some audience members expressed the deep pain this production causes them. Our theatrical team shared very interesting information about the production history of the play. The religious panelists discussed the ethical issues it brings up. Ultimately, Robert Currier reminded us: we need to do this play, and talk about it, to remember the history of anti-Semitism, so that we can be vigilant about eradicating it from our future. Those of us who spend our lives with Shakespeare find it hard to stomache that he seems to share an almost unconscious anti-Semitism. We are heartened by his beautiful writing that humanizes Shylock and shows the pain anti-Semitism causes. And yet, the play remains problematic.