In post-Madoff New York, two new productions of ‘Merchant of Venice’ (one starring Al Pacino) are on the boards this month.
Special To The Jewish Week
If any theatrical character continues to haunt and fascinate us centuries after his debut upon the stage, it is Shylock, the frightening, agonized Jewish moneylender who demands to be repaid only with a pound of flesh. While Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” has always ranked among the most popular of the Bard’s plays in this country, Shylocks are popping up all over the city these days.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the blue-skinned, endangered aliens from the planet Pandora in the mega-hit “Avatar” are called the Na’vi, which is Hebrew for prophet. It couldn’t be that non-Jewish writer and director James Cameron took the term deliberately to make a point that in these victimized, ultimately triumphant underdogs we were to see a glimpse of some conflict in the offing. Could it?
Probably not. But it is one of the things to ponder about a movie that borrows so much of its essence, while leaving so much to interpretation.