This July, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will take her judicial and theatrical talents to Venice. No stranger to the stage, the proud feminist Supreme Court Justice and opera connoisseur (who lately moonlights as a unicorn-rider) will appear in a spin-off of The Merchant of Venice in—you got it—Venice.
The production, part of the 500th anniversary celebration of the Venetian Jewish Ghetto (which is where the term “ghetto” came from), promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Director Karin Coonrod takes the world as her stage, bringing together her international performing arts collective Compagna de Colombari, award-winning actors, and music by Klezmatics member Frank London, to perform Shakespeare’s controversial piece. The event intends to reclaim the Ghetto’s rich heritage, restoring it to its rightful place as a major Jewish historical center.
The play features Justice Ginsburg presiding over a mock trial conducted by renowned international lawyers. Shylock (perhaps the stereotypical anti-Jewish image in English literature), Portia, and Antonio will take the stand, and Ginsburg will issue her judgments from the bench. It’s hardly possible to imagine a better role for Ginsburg, whose Jewishness figures in both her personal and professional lives (and is pending further revelation in her forthcoming book), particularly in questions of prejudice and equal opportunity, not unlike those that torment Shylock.
It’s about time Shylock receives a fair trial. Justice Ginsburg seems the woman for the job.
Images: WikiCommons, Facebook