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Arin Arbus and John Douglas Thompson offer a sneak peek at production of The Merchant of Venice this week

Who: Arin Arbus, John Douglas Thompson, Isabel Arraiza, Danaya Esperanza, Ian Lassiter, Ajay Naidu, Alfredo Narciso, Graham Winton
What: Pair of readings and talkbacks about The Merchant of Venice
Where: Theatre for a New Audience
When: Wednesday, July 27, 7:00, and Saturday, July 30, 3:00, free with RSVP
Why: Theatre for a New Audience is planning on staging an in-person adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice once theaters are allowed to reopen in New York City. On January 27 and 30, TFANA will give a sneak peek at its take on the problematic play for the new series “Artists & Community.” Director Arin Arbus and award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson, who have previously worked together on Othello, Macbeth, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, and Strindberg’s The Father, are teaming up again for the Bard’s seriocomic work about romance and moneylending. Thompson, who will be playing Shylock, will be joined on Zoom by Isabel Arraiza, Danaya Esperanza, Ian Lassiter, Ajay Naidu, Alfredo Narciso, and Graham Winton, performing Act I, Scene III; Act II, Scenes III and V; and Act III, Scene I on January 27 at 7:00 and Act IV, Scene I: The Trial on July 30 at 3:00. Both free readings will be followed by a talkback with Arbus and members of the cast, moderated by TFANA founding artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz, who said in a statement, “On January 9, the Royal Shakespeare Company, with TFANA and the Young Vic, copresented a livestreamed concert that began an investigation into the 1939 Broadway musical Swingin’ the Dream. I’m thrilled that TFANA will now offer another first look: a behind-the-scenes exploration of Shakespeare’s provocative, polarizing play.” Among the lines they are likely to examine is Portia’s courtroom question “Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?”

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