“Merchant of Venice,” opens at the Jewish Cultural Community Center for Shakespeare Chattanooga

Steve Disbrow as Shylock

Merchant of Venice is classified as a comedy by Shakespeare but serious themes emerge in this play from 400 years ago.    Shylock is a wealthy Jewish money lender in the play.     Antonio is a Christian who has borrowed money for  a sea venture from Shylock but has not been able to pay it back according to the contract.    Shylock is entitled to take a “pound of flesh” from Antonio due to his forfeiture of their agreement.     But, will Shylock take 12 ounces of flesh from the area closest to the heart of Antonio?     Shylock is set on taking revenge, but he is driven to this madness by others who intend him harm for no reason but that he is Jewish.

Shakespeare Chattanooga founder and director Janis Hashe contacted the Jewish Community Federation when she decided to bring Merchant of Venice to stage.    JCC agreed to house the play and added a panel discussion to address the subject of anti-semitism.

Here are details from the Jewish Community Federation about this collaborative project with Shakespeare Chattanooga:

Shakespeare Chattanooga will perform “Merchant of Venice” at 2:00 on Sun. Feb. 5 and 12  and at 7:30 pm on Feb. 6, 7, 13, and 14.

Then Let’s Talk About It on Thurs. Feb. 9 at 7:00 pm, when a panel will discuss anti-Semitism (an issue raised in the play).  Tickets and more info: federation@jewishchattanooga.com or 493-0270, ext. 10

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the story with actors, Tenika Dye and Steve Disbrow and Director Janis Hashe of Shakespeare Chattanooga:

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