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By J. Wynn Rousuck | May 27, 1999
Hal Holbrook may be best known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of Mark Twain, but the actor is no stranger to Shakespeare. He has portrayed both the title role in "King Lear" and Shylock, the money lender, in "The Merchant of Venice" at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, and he is returning to the latter drama in director Michael Kahn's production of "Merchant," currently in previews at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington.The cast also includes Enid Graham as Shylock's trial opponent, Portia, and Keith Baxter as the merchant of the title.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 25, 2005
Mel Gibson should have directed the movie version of The Merchant of Venice. Unafraid of reviving and fomenting anti-Semitic stereotypes, Gibson would have given moviegoers a Shylockian event to get riled up about. Michael Radford, an ultra-responsible filmmaker (he's best known for Il Postino), takes a middle-of-the road approach with this retelling of Shakespeare. He lays out from the opening titles the background of religious hatred that helps determine why the Jewish moneylender Shylock (Al Pacino)
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By Ron Grossman and Ron Grossman,Chicago Tribune | June 2, 1993
Shylock is Shakespeare's least politically correct character but also one of his most enduring."In the extent of his fame, Shylock belongs with Don Quixote, Tartuffe, Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe," author John Gross notes. "He is a familiar figure to millions who have never read 'The Merchant of Venice' or even seen it acted; he has served as an inspiration for hundreds of writers and a point of reference for innumerable publicists. There are times when one might wish it were otherwise, but he is immortal."
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By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | June 2, 1999
Whether you consider it a tragedy or a romantic comedy -- and in truth, it is a little of both -- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" is a troubling play. It is to director Michael Kahn's credit that his current production at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre doesn't downplay the troubling aspects.The play's theme of anti-Semitism looms large, and while Kahn makes it clear that, as a member of a scorned minority, Shylock is a victim, both the director and lead actor Hal Holbrook boldly reject political correctness by not softening the money-lender's nature.
NEWS
By MICHAEL PAKENHAM | November 9, 1997
There is no viler force in human history than anti-Semitism. One might argue for a while about the competing records of other mass annihilation of humans, including state socialism, which under Stalin and Mao alone blithely butchered millions more innocents. But for its unyielding inhumanity over two millennia, not only for the Holocaust, anti-Semitism cannot be surpassed.Thus there is extraordinary virtue evident when scholars confront one of the great intellectual shibboleths of anti-Semitism in something like mortal combat and come out above the current fads.
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | June 2, 1999
Whether you consider it a tragedy or a romantic comedy -- and in truth, it is a little of both -- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" is a troubling play. It is to director Michael Kahn's credit that his current production at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre doesn't downplay the troubling aspects.The play's theme of anti-Semitism looms large, and while Kahn makes it clear that, as a member of a scorned minority, Shylock is a victim, both the director and lead actor Hal Holbrook boldly reject political correctness by not softening the money-lender's nature.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 25, 2005
Mel Gibson should have directed the movie version of The Merchant of Venice. Unafraid of reviving and fomenting anti-Semitic stereotypes, Gibson would have given moviegoers a Shylockian event to get riled up about. Michael Radford, an ultra-responsible filmmaker (he's best known for Il Postino), takes a middle-of-the road approach with this retelling of Shakespeare. He lays out from the opening titles the background of religious hatred that helps determine why the Jewish moneylender Shylock (Al Pacino)
NEWS
June 6, 1995
Julia Adler Foshko, 97, the last surviving member of a generation of Adlers who began their theatrical careers on stage with their parents in the Yiddish theater, died Saturday at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, N.J. She had been a resident of the Actors Fund Home in Englewood for many years. Among other Broadway roles in the 1920s, she played Shylock's daughter, Jessica, in the David Warfield production of "The Merchant of Venice," and was cast by David Belasco as the star of "Rosa Machree."
NEWS
By Dave Edelman | October 11, 1993
OPERATION SHYLOCK. By Philip Roth. Simon & Schuster. 398 pages. $23.00.Jerusalem is the land of contradictions. It's the city of the hunted and oppressed that has inspired countless acts of violence and oppression, the city that several of the world's largest and most conflicting religions claim as holy ground, the city that's at the heart of the notion of paradox -- Israel: contender with God.It's also the city chosen as the setting of Philip Roth's latest...
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By Jamie Stiehm and Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF | August 8, 2001
Shakespeare is happening in Hampden. Red curtains billow over the windows and exotic stage masks are draped over the young players" faces. They speak lyrically in Elizabethan English, pausing over such unfamiliar phrases as, "I pray thee, get thee gone."
ENTERTAINMENT
By J. Wynn Rousuck | May 27, 1999
Hal Holbrook may be best known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of Mark Twain, but the actor is no stranger to Shakespeare. He has portrayed both the title role in "King Lear" and Shylock, the money lender, in "The Merchant of Venice" at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, and he is returning to the latter drama in director Michael Kahn's production of "Merchant," currently in previews at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington.The cast also includes Enid Graham as Shylock's trial opponent, Portia, and Keith Baxter as the merchant of the title.
NEWS
By MICHAEL PAKENHAM | November 9, 1997
There is no viler force in human history than anti-Semitism. One might argue for a while about the competing records of other mass annihilation of humans, including state socialism, which under Stalin and Mao alone blithely butchered millions more innocents. But for its unyielding inhumanity over two millennia, not only for the Holocaust, anti-Semitism cannot be surpassed.Thus there is extraordinary virtue evident when scholars confront one of the great intellectual shibboleths of anti-Semitism in something like mortal combat and come out above the current fads.
FEATURES
By Ron Grossman and Ron Grossman,Chicago Tribune | June 2, 1993
Shylock is Shakespeare's least politically correct character but also one of his most enduring."In the extent of his fame, Shylock belongs with Don Quixote, Tartuffe, Sherlock Holmes, Robinson Crusoe," author John Gross notes. "He is a familiar figure to millions who have never read 'The Merchant of Venice' or even seen it acted; he has served as an inspiration for hundreds of writers and a point of reference for innumerable publicists. There are times when one might wish it were otherwise, but he is immortal."
NEWS
By Jack Stephens | March 28, 1993
OPERATION SHYLOCK: A CONFESSION.Philip Roth.Simon & Schuster.398 pages. $23. Here it is, Opus 20 by the author of "Patrimony" (supposedly a memoir), "The Facts" (ostensibly an autobiography) and a passel of semiautobiographical novels, such as "Deceptions," which defy the reader to call them fiction. Here is yet another book straddling the line, refusing to tell its readers quite how it wants to be read. Is it, as the subtitle alleges, "A Confession," Philip Roth's honest recounting of some personal responsibility?
NEWS
March 30, 1991
''Let his blood be upon us and upon our children,'' the mob howled, according to Matthew's gospel, as it demanded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many Christians have been taught that this passage cannot be used to blame Jews or Judaism for Jesus' death. It speaks of the behavior of mobs, and of the human heart's inclination to sin and rejection of divinity. More than 400 years ago the Council of Trent drafted a catechism that declared that ''Christian sinners are more responsible for the death of Christ in comparison with certain Jews who participated in it.''Nevertheless, the notion of Jews as ''Christ-killers'' remained in Christian consciousness and culture, stirring pogrom and inquisition, discrimination and hatred.
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