A POUND OF FLESH: EXPLORING QUALITIES OF MERCY WHEN ENCOUNTERING “THE OTHER”
A Series of Performances, Panel Discussions, Workshops, and Post-Show Conversations Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice
January 24-February 24, 2015
New York City & Chicago
Elements Theatre Company presents the 2015 “Arts in Conversation” series, an annual program launched in 2013 that brings together leaders in the arts, education, religion, media and social outreach to create public dialogue on the power of the arts to humanize our culture.
As a theatre company, our core mission is to educate and illuminate through the honest exploration of classical and classically-rooted modern theatre. We believe that theatre provides a mirror for ourselves and our society, creating a possibility for meaningful exchange over ideas that matter most deeply. In our experience, reconciliation and transformation are only possible when we clearly see and name the issues that divide us.
This winter, we present Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as a springboard for thought-provoking conversation on “the other” in our society today. In a world torn by hatred and prejudice of many kinds, we can feel powerless to create any real change. But by creating a space for exchange, reflection, and even disagreement, we might discover truths at the core of the issues. These insights might be frightening or surprising, but they can also ignite real change.
In the Pound of Flesh series, distinguished guest panelists and the Elements cast will consider: What drives Shylock (and other “outsiders”) to such extreme measures? In what ways could we be responsible for creating a climate of persecution, rather than acceptance? What are the qualities of mercy that might turn the tide of violence, in our culture and in our relationships?
CO-PRESENTERS IN NEW YORK CITY INCLUDE:
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
The New School for Drama
92nd Street Y
St. Malachy’s, The Actors’ Chapel
CO-PRESENTERS IN CHICAGO INCLUDE:
Elaine and Zollie Frank Theater, Mayer Kaplan JCC
Chicago Theological Seminary
KAM Isaiah Israel Synagogue
Chicago Public Library
Dominican University Performing Arts Center