Archive for May 21st, 2009


by Sam Juliano

Which is the Christian and which is the Jew?” intones the Duke of Venice at both the beginning and ending of the new production of The Merchant of Venice, recently staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theatre. An all-male cast navigates one of the Bard’s most problematic plays in a three-storied jailhouse that incarcerates those in conflict.  The play is updated to a contemporary period, and the language is again manipulated to accommodate audiences who wouldn’t negotiate a traditional staging without the text in their hands.  Merchant is an uneasy hybrid of comedy and tragedy that has always perplexed audiences, even in traditional transcription, so the bold adaptation here by Edward Hall and Roger Warren is doubly difficult even for Shakespeare aficionados, let alone the laymen.  Scholars have classified the work as a comedy, but audiences are far more intrigued with Shylock’s dilemma than they are with Bassanio’s mission to win Portia.  The Bard apparently did not figure that Shylock’s acute intelligence and humanity would overcome his apparently intended role as a droll reprobate, but his love for his daughter is feral, and certainly more deeply conveyed than his devotion to ducats. (more…)

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leopard 1

by Allan Fish

(USA/Italy 1963 185m) DVD1/2

Aka. Il Gattopardo

Not changing one’s spots

p  Goffredo Lombardo  d  Luchino Visconti  w  Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Enrico Medioli, Massimo Franciosa  novel  Giuseppe de Lampedusa  ph  Giuseppe Rotunno  ed  Mario Serandrei  m  Nino Rota (and Giuseppe Verdi)  art  Mario Garbuglia  cos  Piero Tosi, Reanda, Sartoria Safas

Burt Lancaster (Prince Don Fabrizio Salina), Alain Delon (Tancredi), Claudia Cardinale (Angelica Sedara/Bertiana), Paolo Stoppa (Don Calogero Sedara), Serge Reggiani (Don Ciccio Tumeo), Romolo Valli (Father Pirrone), Rina Morelli (Maria Stella), Leslie French (Aymone Chevalley),

The Leopard is Luchino Visconti’s most personal and acclaimed journey into his beloved lost Italian aristocracy, into a world vanished but, in his eyes, not forgotten.  It’s a splendorous, yet almost funereal elegy to his heritage.  As Luchino Visconti, Marxist idealist, he would welcome such revolutions as Garibaldi’s.  But as Don Visconti di Madrone of Milan, a remnant of that same ruling class, it’s with a tinge of melancholy. 

            Don Fabrizio Salina is a Prince of Sicily, known as ‘The Leopard’ to those who respect and fear him.  But in the 1860s Sicily is on the brink of revolution, as Garibaldi is leading them to join Italy as one nation and wave goodbye to the old Sicilian aristocracy.  At the same time, his nephew, Tancredi, is fighting for this revolution and to win the hand of the daughter of a local nouveaux riche, Angelica.  Fabrizio realises his world is coming to a close, but cannot bring himself to either admit it to others, or do anything himself to either stop or encourage it. (more…)

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