The U.S. premiere of this production of Merchant, performed by Hall's all-male Shakespeare troupe, Propeller, runs through May 17 at the Harvey Theater. Propeller returns to BAM after previous stagings of The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night in 2007.
Propeller company members inhabiting the work are Bob Barrett, Kelsey Brookfield, Babou Ceesay, Richard Clothier, Richard Dempsey, John Dougall, Richard Frame, Emmanuel Idowu, Jonathan Livingstone, Chris Myles, Thomas Padden, Sam Swainsbury, Jack Tarlton and Jon Trenchand.
The contemporary, prison-set take on Merchant has set design by Michael Pavelka and lighting by Ben Ormerod.
BAM notes for the Shakespeare classic read: "The Merchant of Venice is a work that poses still-incendiary questions about truth, morality, and prejudice. The story revolves around Shylock, an observant Jewish moneylender caught between his faith's strictures and the demands of Christianity. In this astute production, Hall and the company reveal the play's underlying absurdities — the virtue in vice and vice in virtue — while delivering an unsparing rendition of the harrowing bargain at its core."
Formed in conjunction with the Watermill Theatre in 1997, Propeller has earned critical praise for its unique stagings of Edward Hall's Henry V, as well as The Comedy of Errors, Rose Rage, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Winter's Tale. For tickets and further information phone (718) 636-4100 or visit BAM.org.