First Folio Theatre, (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83), is presenting a special fully staged reading of SHYLOCK AND HIS DAUGHTER by Maurice Schwartz on Thursday, July 26 and Thursday, August 2, 9, and 16 at 8:15 p.m. Originally written for the Yiddish theater and translated into English, this play tells the same story as First Folio's main stage Shakespeare-under-the-Stars production, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, but from Shylock's perspective.
SHYLOCK AND HIS DAUGHTER further explores the themes in Shakespeare's complex tale of hatred, love, revenge, and betrayal from a dramatically different point of view. Artistic Director Alison C. Vesely will direct the production, with the same actors appearing in the roles they play in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Tickets to the special performances are $10.
SHYLOCK AND HIS DAUGHTER explores the reason for the Shylock's desire for more money, funds which he can use to fight the Inquisition and its treatment of Jews. More historically accurate than Shakespeare's work, this play delves into a side of the Renaissance rarely dealt with in modern dramatic literature.
First Folio Theatre is also currently presenting William Shakespeare's most controversial play, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, through August 19. Artistic Director Alison C. Vesely directs the classic for First Folio's beloved annual Shakespeare-under-the-Stars production on the outdoor main stage situated on the scenic slopes of the historic estate. A dramatic destination that not only delivers outstanding theater to its audience, First Folio Theatre invites Chicagoans to spread out their picnic blankets, kick off their shoes, and soak up some Shakespeare against a picture perfect backdrop.
The cast of SHYLOCK AND HIS DAUGHTER features Michael Goldberg as Shylock, Kevin McKillip as Don Morro, Melanie Keller as Portia, Michael Joseph Mitchell as Anthonio, Hayley L. Rice as Dona Camilla, René Ruelas as the Duke, Nate Santana as Lancelot, and Cassidy Stirtz as "Jessica." Other members of the cast include Robbie Bersano, Stephan Collins-Stepney, Luke Daigle, Lane Flores, Michael Holding, Michael Mercier, Whitney Morse, Batuhan Ozturk, Kris Reilly, and Emma Thatcher.
The artistic team includes Ann Davis (Scenic Artist), Stanton Davis (Vocal Coach), Kyle Kevin Gettelman (Technical Director), Christopher Kriz (Sound Designer), Rachel Lambert (Costume Designer), Michael McNamara (Lighting Designer), and Angela Weber Miller (Scenic Designer).
All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, which is owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Situated on the lawn next to the lovely Portiuncula Chapel, First Folio's outdoor mainstage is the perfect venue for Shakespeare under the stars. The gates open at 6:45 p.m., giving audience members plenty of time to enjoy a picnic before the 8:15 p.m. start time. Featuring unlimited lawn seating, attendees are invited to bring their own chairs or blankets, or rent one for $2 each at the concession stand. Not only will audiences see some of the best Chicago-area actors on stage, they may also catch sight of local wildlife, such as hawks, owls, deer, swifts and foxes. Biweekly mosquito abatement is conducted to ensure comfort, and free repellent is offered at the site. Concessions as well as pre-ordered box suppers from La Cuisine (prepaid 48 hours in advance) are also available. Located at 1717 W 31st St., just off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook, First Folio is easy to get to from either the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds.