THEATER: Shylock on the Beach

Peter Sellars audaciously reimagines The Merchant of Venic

"When I direct Shakespeare," theatrical innovator Peter Sellars once said, "the first thing I do is go to the text for cuts. I go through to find the passages that are real heavy, that really are not needed, places where the language has become obscure, the places where there is a bizarre detour." And then? "I take those moments, those elements, and I make them the centerpiece, the core of the production."

In the sober matter of staging Shakespeare, such audaciousness is hard to resist -- though a lot of Chicago theatergoers have been able to. Typically, a third of the...

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