In conversation: Karin Coonrod and David Scott Kastan on ‘The Merchant of Venice’ returning to its roots

August 26, 2016

This year marks the intersection of two milestones — the 500th year of the formation of the Venetian Ghetto, the area of Venice where Jews were forced to live under the Venetian Republic, and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, whose “The Merchant of Venice” is set in that ghetto. In commemoration, Compagnia de’ Colombari, an international collective of performing artists led by Karin Coonrod, lecturer in directing at Yale School of Drama (YSD), performed “The Merchant of Venice” in the Venetian Ghetto this summer.

Compagnia de’ Colombari was founded in 2004 as an international effort “to cross boundaries and bring disparate populations together,” says Coonrod. This event marked the first time ever that a production of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” took place in the ghetto in which it was set.

“The Merchant of Venice” is a play by Shakespeare in which Antonio, a leading merchant in 16th-century Venice, must default on a large loan provided by an abused Jewish moneylender named Shylock.

YaleNews recently spoke via email with Coonrod and David Scott Kastan, the George M. Bodman Professor of English, a scholar on Shakespeare, and one of the founding chairs of the event.

Read the full article by Bess Connolly Martell in YaleNews

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