Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online 


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Leiren-Young, Mark (Canadian playwright, 1962- ), "Shylock,"

a bare-stage 80-minute drama in English set tomorrow, after a performance,


© 1996 by Mark Lieren-Young, script/rights available from Mark Leiren-Young, Suite 129, #101-1001 W. Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 4E4, telephone (home) 604-875-0048, fax 604-879-6048, e-mail Cited by Joan Watterson, e-mail, June 5, 1997; Watterson says,

Synopsis "Either on a set appropriate to a production of The Merchant of Venice or in front of a bare stage, Jon Davies, having just finished his performance as Shylock, enters through the set or in front of the curtain. Yet in full Shylock costume and makeup, he addresses the audience in a post-show talkback session. This production of Merchant has just been cancelled. Jon tells how the community-theatregoers, media, academics, even his own artistic director-decided that the portrayal of Jews in Merchant is anti-Semitic and that the play is dangerous. Jon, himself Jewish, introduces several characters in the story. He recounts conversations about the drama, including those with several members of the company-such as one with his assistant director, Tony Q. Fulford (whose reaction to Jon's desire to play Othello is one of many fine comic moments in the play)-and he recounts conversations with Professor Marsha T. Berman, who leads the crusade to have the production cancelled and Jon publicly condemned for his portrayal of Shylock. He also describes his history as an actor and his love of Shakespeare, beginning in boyhood, when sick with measles, he began reading the plays out of sheer boredom. He says, 'Somehow I managed to understand the story because about midnight on day four-as Lear cradled his poor, lifeless Cordelia in his arms-I began to cry.'

Comment "'Shylock' is a one-man, one-act play about an actor condemned for his 'negative' portrayal of Shakespeare's notorious Jew. Shylock looks at tough issues-racism, identity, censorship, and the age-old question, "Is art dangerous?" His tales of Shakespearean censorship and literary censorship through the ages makes the audience aware that someone always has tried to decide what is good for everyone else to see and read. Shylock is a thought-provoking, funny, and honest look at art and identity."

Themes acting, art, censorship, identity, Jewish, racism, Shakespeare, Shylock.

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Page updated June 5, 1997, and January 24, 1999, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online
complements the print volume

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays

by Lewis W. Heniford
(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, $39.50, plus s/h
Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706
telephone 800-462-6420 or 301-459-3366, fax 800-338-4550
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