Rasaka Theatre Company and Vitalist Theatre present MERCHANT ON VENICE – Preview

Rasaka - Vitalist MERCHANT ON VENICE
Madrid St. Angelo as Devender and Kamal Hans as Jitender Photo : Joe Mazza, Brave Lux

With the remount of the South Asian re-imagining of Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Rasaka Theatre Company and Vitalist Theatre Company are bringing Shishir Kurup’s  MERCHANT ON VENICE back to Chicago this spring. Directed in 2018 by Vitalist Artistic Director Liz Carlin Metz, MERCHANT ON VENICE explores empathy and grace, as well as blame and internalized and externalized religious bigotry, while mixing with the clash/mash of culture of South Asian culture in LA.

Kurup’s play is set on Venice Boulevard in present day Culver City, California – a section of the Los Angeles area where hatred and intolerance among Hindus and Muslims has grown to a boiling point. With rock-and-roll and Bollywood-influenced music, blank verse and present-day pop references -- replete with Indian, American and Latino jargon that reflect the sound of the South Asian Diaspora as well as the polyglot crackle of Los Angeles -- the play explores how the preponderance of power in one sector of a community can marginalize a minority, and provoke reactionary and retributive responses.

Four of the original artists from the play’s world premiere, originally produced by Silk Road Rising in 2007, will return for this Rasaka and Vitalist remount. Anish Jethmalani will reprise his role of the Muslim money-lender, Sharuk (Kurup’s surrogate for Shakespeare’s Shylock).

Three other veterans of the 2007 production return to take on new or reprised roles. Rasaka’s Producing Artistic Director Kamal Hans will play Jitender, a Hindu actor who has fled Bollywood stardom to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. Madrid St. Angelo will play Devender, the merchant and Jitender’s best friend.

Joining the four veterans of the 2007 cast will be Suzan Fakhoury as Pushpa, the wealthy object of Jitender’s affection. Fakhoury was seen in A NICE INDIAN BOY with Rasaka and recently appeared in THREESOME for The Other Theatre Company.

Rasaka - Vitalist MERCHANT ON VENICE
Former Bollywood star Jitender (Kamal Hans) is courting the wealthy heiress Pushpa (Suzan Fakhoury) Photo Credit: Joe Mazza, Brave Lux

(Show description modified from Silk Road Rising’s 2007 World Premiere production of Shishir Kurup's MERCHANT ON VENICE.)

Rasaka - Vitalist MERCHANT ON VENICE
Sharuk (Anish Jethmalani) has agreed to lend money to Devender (Madrid St. Angelo) Photo Credit: Joe Mazza, Brave Lux

The MERCHANT ON VENICE ensemble cast also includes Sunny Anam, Simran Bal, Anand Bhatt, Luisa Blanco, Sumeet Chhabra, David Fink, Dennis Garcia, Murtaza Kapasi, Siddhartha Rajan, Priyank Thakkar, and Ben Veatch. The production team features Emily Antoff (assistant director/assistant producer), Craig Choma (scenic design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Erik Barry (lighting designer), Tracee Bear (assistant costume designer), Gregor Mortis (sound designer), Alka Nayyar (choreographer, dialect coach), Bailey Howard (stage manager), Nicholas Hittner-Cunningham (assistant stage manager), Kathleen Dickinson (production manager), Zachary Ridgeway Barner (projections), and Kevin Scott (technical director).

When:

March 20 - April 15, 2018
Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm

Where:

Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

Ticket prices: 

$25 (General Admission), $20 (Students/Seniors/Groups), $15 (Industry) Tickets:

For tickets call the Greenhouse Theater Center Box office at 773-404-7336, or buy online at the Greenhouse Theater Center website

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