PRESS RELEASE | Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and other legal luminaries to hear Shylock’s appeal

October 3, 2013… Join us Saturday for one of this season’s most exciting Forum events: Shylock Appeals. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, will lead a distinguished panel of judges including Ian Binnie, Earl Cherniak, Patricia Jackson and Dean Mayo Moran, as two prominent lawyers, Sheila Block and Alan Lenczner, argue Shylock’s sentence. Shylock Appeals takes place this Saturday, October 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the Festival Theatre.

This mock trial is one of a number of events being held to shed light on The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s most controversial play about intolerance and vengeance, helmed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. When the merchant Antonio asks for a loan from the Jewish moneylender Shylock – a man whom he has always treated with contempt – Shylock agrees, but demands a startling collateral: a pound of the merchant’s flesh. When Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock prepares to take his revenge – only to find that the law is a knife that can cut both ways. The court rules that Shylock may take the flesh as agreed, but “not one jot of blood.” Shylock concedes, only to be threatened with the death penalty for attempted murder, but is pardoned on the condition that he converts to Christianity.

“The case against Shylock has been hotly debated for years,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “As you’ll recall, his last trial didn’t go very well for him, so we have gathered some of the most distinguished members of the Canadian legal community to settle this dispute over a loan default once and for all. For those able to witness this appeal, Shylock’s day in court promises to inspire entertaining discussion.”

Other roles in the trial will be played by Merchant company members, including Wayne Best, Michael Blake, Skye Brandon, Daniel Briere, Shane Carty, Tyrell Crews, Victor Ertmanis, Michelle Giroux, Jonathan Goad, Andrew Lawrie, Robert King, Tom McCamus, Anand Rajaram, Kaitlyn Riordan, Andrew Robinson, Sabryn Rock, Steven Sutcliffe, Sophia Walker, Scott Wentworth and Antoine Yared.

While admission is free, donations are appreciated. Seating is assigned. To reserve seats, contact the box office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit stratfordfestival.ca. This event will also be available live on Youtube starting at 11 a.m. on October 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQFVWAh2z6o

Support for Shylock Appeals is generously provided by Mary and Guy Pratte.

The Merchant of Venice will be explored through two other Forum events this week:

Shylock Revisited

Factory 163, 163 King Street, Friday, October 4, at 10:30 a.m.

With her fellow company members Sam Moses and Mike Nadajewski, Kate Hennig performs the contentious role of Shylock in excerpts of scenes from The Merchant of Venice. Together with the audience they will explore the surprising shifts in power dynamics that arise from cross-gender casting and from our own assumptions about the roles of Jewish women in society. Directed and moderated by award-winning theatre artist Liza Balkan, each segment will be followed by an audience question period.

Admission: $20.

Exclusive Dinner – SOLD OUT

Friday, October 4, Paul D. Fleck Marquee, Festival Theatre, at 5 p.m.

Enjoy a three-course-meal, complimentary bar and the company of Festival actors at this prominent event for the legal community. Remarks by former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Ian Binnie.

Admission: $95 (including bar and gratuities).

Support for the dinner is provided by Borden Ladner Gervais.

For more information, visit http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/shylockweekend.

Support for the inaugural season of The Forum is generously provided by Kelly and Michael Meighen and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, with media sponsorship provided by The Walrus. Support for the Speakers Series is generously provided in memory of Dr. W. Philip Hayman.

The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season runs until October 27, featuring Romeo and JulietFiddler on the RoofThe Three MusketeersThe Merchant of VeniceTommyBlithe SpiritOthelloMeasure for MeasureMary StuartWaiting for Godot and two new Canadian plays, Taking Shakespeare and The Thrill, along with more than 150 Forum events.

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