(Kerry Reid’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 7/16.)

A balmy suburban night provides a decidedly incongruous backdrop for one of the most problematic of Shakespeare's "problem plays." But though Alison C. Vesely's alfresco staging of "The Merchant of Venice" for First Folio at Oak Brook's Peabody Estate remains faithful to the original's Venetian setting, the play's pungent mix of spite, vengeance, greed and gossip — as toxic as the waters of the Grand Canal — feels right at home in our own acrimonious and narcissistic era. The ugly anti-Semitism that drives the plot remains the fiend at the elbow of all the characters — whether the embittered Jewish moneylender, Shylock, or the casually cruel and conniving Christian citizens who have long made sport at his expense along the Rialto.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *