Tonight I went to Cardinal’s Merchant of Venice a second time for a spotlight piece on the production’s Shylock. My teenage son joined me this time. I raised him on Shakespeare, and I wanted him to see this production. He loved it, and my love grew deeper.
This theater experience was different than the first. I could feel it. The room seemed heavy with worry and sadness about the current political and social situation. The words “distraction” and “escape” kept chiming in my ears, “I though this would be a nice distraction. I needed to escape for awhile.”
As I caught these half-overheard conversations, I thought to myself, “Escape? Distraction? Do these people not know what this play is about?” I walked into the theater, raw emotions exposed knowing that my experience here would hurt. Merchant is about hate, race, revenge, and violence. It is a mirror for our current experience. I knew that going in, but somewhere deep inside I knew I needed that pain. Read more