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Shylock: A Play

Shylock: A Play
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Mark Leiren-Young, Preface by John Juliani
Publisher: Anvil Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 61
Pub. Date: 2001
ISBN-10: 1895636124
ISBN-13: 9781895636123
Cast Size: 1 man

About the Play:

Shylock is a full-length drama by Mark Leiren-Young. A Jewish actor playing Shakespeare's notorious money-lender as a villain attracts unwelcome protests and controversy at a Festival Theatre. The contentious production has just been shut down and the actor holds a talk-back session to defend his work. Packed with ideas of censorship, history, representation, and the nature of art – it's a testament to the power of The Bard.

Shylock focuses on a Jewish actor named Jon Davies, who is featured as Shylock in a production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Jon addresses his audience at a "talk back" session, after the play is closed abruptly due to controversy over the play's alleged antisemitism. Davies is portrayed both in and out of character, presenting and stripping down the layers between character and actor. This award-winning one-man drama has provided much fuel for the fiery debates surrounding censorship, historical revisionism, political correctness and the thorny discussion of whether certain plays are suitable for contemporary productions – Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice amongst them.

Shylock was first produced in 1996 by Bard on the Beach in Vancouver, directed by John Juliani and starring popular Canadian radio host, David Berner. Its American debut was in 1998 at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre. Since then the play, which is aimed at Grade 10 and up, has been produced widely at professional theatres, Shakespeare Festivals, Teen Festivals, and Fringe Festivals throughout Canada and the US.

Cast: 1 man

What people say:

"Mark Leiren-Young's play is very strong and an important contribution to the vexed and vexing question of the alleged anti-Semitism of The Merchant of Venice." — Patrick Stewart, Actor

"Both entertaining and provocative. A perfect companion piece to The Merchant of Venice in any college or high school discussion of Shakespeare's controversial play." — Norman Berlin, Professor of English, University of Massachusetts

"An effective piece of writing. So much so that cleaning staff had to literally push-broom patron's from the lobby after the show ended. The response was that lively." — The National Post

"A passionate plea for reason, for literature, and for art. Shylock will be a hit because people are hungry for articulate, passionate arguments for intellectual sanity in a rapidly collapsing intellectual world. Hooray for Mark Leiren-Young." — Culture Shock

"Shylock is an amazing play and what's amazing about it is that it touches so many important issues in our society about stereotypes and artistic integrity that are especially resonant for non-profit theatres. It is also extraordinarily funny." — Bernard Harvard, Artistic Director, Walnut Street Theatre

"The play is a wondrous diatribe about art, the responsibilities of the artist, and about whether theatre exists to make people comfortable." — The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia

About the Playwright:

Mark Leiren-Young is a Canadian author, screenwriter, playwright, satirist, performer, and environmentalist. After graduating receiving his BFA in Creative Writing and Theatre at the University of Victoria, he was hired as a reporter at the venerable Williams Lake Tribune (a stint that inspired his first book, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen). Since then he has been a full-time freelance writer working in a variety of mediums and genres. His plays have been produced throughout Canada and the US as well as in Europe and Australia. He has written over a hundred hours of television for shows including adult dramas like Psi Factor and The Collector.

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