The Merchant Of Venice OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    September 19, 2017
    Closing:
    October 1, 2017

    Theater: Alexander Kasser Theater / 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ, 07043

    Synopsis: 

    Karin Coonrod “looks for the flash in the actors’ eyes and listens for the music of the audience.” Now this internationally acclaimed director brings her groundbreaking production of Shakespeare’s most controversial play, The Merchant of Venice, to the US. Coonrod first staged this thorny masterpiece in 2016 in its original setting, the Jewish ghetto of Venice, to mark the 500th anniversary of its creation. Five actors of different races, creeds, nationalities, and genders play Shylock, the iconic Jewish moneylender at the center of the play. According to Coonrod, “these five actors, all of them very different, open up the play in a way that is both Jewish and universal.”

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Merchant Of Venice

    A Flock of Shylocks Transforms ‘Merchant of Venice’

    Ben Brantley

    September 25, 2017:

    MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The first gathering of the Shylocks is a sobering sight, instantly pushing comedy into the borders of tragedy. This chilling vision occurs halfway through what has thus far been an unusually blithe production of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” directed by Karin Coonrod at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University.

    It is carnival time in Venice, and the air has been full of bright song and hedonistic yelps. But the music and the voices have turned harsh, and now Jew-baiting imprecations are fired like stones from slingshots. Five figures, identically dressed in gold-sashed robes, form a silent, protective huddle at the center of the stage.

    Then one of them releases a prolonged howl that rends the night and stills the revelry. Shylock, the most infamous moneylender in literature, has just discovered that his daughter has absconded with his ducats to elope with a mercenary Christian.

    READ THE REVIEW

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