This is the West Coast premiere of Shakespeare's tragicomedy, The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham. From the acclaimed Theatre for a New Audience (the first U.S. theatre to be invited to the Royal Shakespeare Company), it comes to us following command runs Off-Broadway and in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Director Darko Tresnjak (former Artistic Director, Old Globe) has ingeniously staged this timeless tale in a modern, digitized world. But the same controversies, comedy, poetry and struggle with mercy and justice remain. This brilliant production doesn't depend on the riveting performance of an Oscar-winning actor. But it sure doesn't hurt.
Charles Isherwood of the New York Times called his performance in The Merchant of Venice "as daring as it is powerful." But words simply cannot do justice to this Academy Award-winning actor's nuanced unlocking of Shylock's humanity.