(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/22; via Pam Green.)
Light barely seems to penetrate the atmosphere of “The Merchant of Venice” in the brooding, powerful production from Shakespeare’s Globethat’s being presented through the weekend as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Little illumination filters through the carved wooden walls that dominate the set, and a blanket of smoke often shrouds the stage like a thick fog, as if to hide the iniquity so vividly on display.
The production, which stars a deeply moving Jonathan Pryce as Shylock, does begin on a frolicsome note, with masked actors dancing onstage, as during Venice’s carnival. But a note of discord, of brutality, brings the merriment to a disturbing close, as two Jewish men passing by are attacked and thrown to the ground.