Congratulations Chris. I have been reading a bunch of articles on the problematic nature of Shylock. I am starting to grow weary of that aspect. What about the character isn't problematic? What about him is just good ole fashioned theatre? Same question about the play. What will we all be surprised about when we see the play? What characters will we end up loving or hating? Finally, what are several of the major things that you have learned about Shylock in the past month?
I wish I could be at opening. Have fun. What a great show!
Now 4:30 pm and I have little time to write but want to wish you a great trip! As you've seen in rehearsals, I've had unexpected demons pop up on my path to opening night and I'm hoping to beat them down into the little devils they are tonight with a real house. I've been surprised NOT to have been more personally affected by the play's anti-semitism, but I haven't. I'd like to, actually, as it would, of course, be something to use internally. Maybe it will come in performance.
I think Shylock is very much old fashioned theater and, like Lear, goes from semi-rationalism to madness. Shylock's isn't as totally la-la bonkers as is Lear's but I think he's pretty far out there by really, really, really wanting to carve up Antonio like steak. That trajectory is, for me, the spine of the character and I hadn't seen it clearly on Jul 5 as we started out on our journey. I admire enormously the ability to create a character for whom we can feel both pity and contempt; a character whose life has been one of constant persecution has our sympathy, but a character whose greed and rage elicit none. How many authors can do that?
And so I will teeter precariously on the tightrope--not wanting to fall over into parody on the one side, not wanting to be a Johnny-one-note of simple anger on the other; playing the Jew but playing, more importantly, a man--a simple man brought to the brink by an unhappy life then shoved over that brink by the loss of daughter, wealth, position, religion, means of making a living, all.
Hey, it's a tad more challenging than "Odd Couple," right?