From the Director
From the Director
In this time of turmoil, when peace and safety are at odds with the events of a day, we look at this play in a new light.
This run of The Merchant of Venice straddles both the Jewish season of Hanukkah and the Christian season of Advent—both celebrations of light. Both seasons recall saving moments in history that gave to a people relief and peace from the tensions and dangers of the world in which they lived.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a play that does not shy away from hatred and love, that illuminates the motivations and choices that shape the lives of those characters making them, and thrusts them into places and predicaments they never thought they’d be, we see anew, that what motivates the heart is the most important thing.
These motivations play out most directly in the relationship between Shylock and Antonio—a “merry” bond is struck between them. In the text it reads as a joke when proposed by Shylock and, in hubris, Antonio accepts it, ignoring the protests of his friend, Bassanio. As the play progresses, situations change dramatically and dangerously and the bond that seemed to be made in jest, grows fangs, and drives them both to the edge of murder. Who can know what lies in the heart of a man?
Once again Shakespeare offers us a story that can be seen and taken as a reflection back, both on us as individuals, and of the world; a cautionary tale. This story shines truth on the human relationships that live in small communities, in larger cities, and in even larger countries that bridge continents. If we can start in ourselves, looking at what we choose, our motivations, then this recognition has the ability to move from benign acceptance to an active agent for change. Please join us as we offer this play, and these possibilities, as prayers for peace in our world.
Blessings in these Seasons of Light,
Sr. Danielle Dwyer