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PARKING PARTNERS

By Jason Rabin What happens when commerce dominates the soul of a society? Shakespeare had some thoughts. It’s a central subject of his The Merchant of Venice, a comedy of the marketplace, obsessed with trade, bonds, high stakes gambling, precious metals, cold hard cash and what really has value.   That Merchant is Shakespeare weighing in questions around money-dirtying hands is often overshadowed by the fact that its chief moneylender is a villainous Jew. The…

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It’s a thrill for any theatre-goer to witness a transcendent performance; one that takes your breath away, is burnished on your brain forever, and is anchored not in technique and virtuosity, but in truth. These moments are rare. As a graduate student I remember having the opportunity to see Christopher Walken perform Caligula at the Yale Repertory Theatre. I saw it 15 times. The outline of the underlying performance remained the same, but its nuances…

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A patron recently brought to our attention a story printed in Jacob R. Marcus’ The Jew in the Medieval World that illuminates one of Shakespeare’s possible sources for The Merchant of Venice. Marcus reprints a section from the 1693 edition of Gregorio Leti’s Vita di Sisto V (“Life of Sixtus V,” 1585-1590) that describes a Christian Merchant making a wager with his Jewish creditor—the stakes are a pound of flesh from the Jew’s body, not…

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Part one of a three-part series on Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham By Alyssa Mulligan Sitting in the Semel Theatre on Emerson’s campus with fellow students and faculty, I anxiously await the presence of the Oscar-winning actor who has appeared in over 200 plays and films in his career: the captivating F. Murray Abraham. He enters, and his charisma permeates the room as the discussion unfolds like an episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Almost…

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By Jason Rabin In his native Britain, Brook is known as a sort of high priest of Avant-Garde Theatre, partly because so many of his projects have had an epic spiritual bent. His name is seldom printed in a British publication without a preceding qualifier like “esteemed,” “revered,” or “legendary.” His first successes in the 50’s were often iconic British productions of Shakespeare, featuring the likes of Sir Lawrence Olivier. In the 60’s he began experimenting…

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