An updated version of The Merchant of Venice that speaks to our contemporary reckoning with racism and injustice.
Elise Thoron’s translation of Shakespeare’s searing The Merchant of Venice cuts straight to the heart of today’s fraught issues of social justice and systemic racism. Thoron’s clear, compelling contemporary verse translation retains the power of the original iambic pentameter while allowing readers and audiences to fully comprehend and directly experience the brutal dilemmas of Shakespeare’s Venice, where prejudice and privilege reign unchallenged. As the author of three acclaimed music-theater works on the Jewish experience and informed by her work directing cross-cultural projects in locations as different as Russia, Japan, Cuba, and New York City, Thoron brings to her Merchant an immediacy that speaks directly to the present reckoning with race in America.
This translation was written as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! project, which commissioned new translations of thirty-nine Shakespeare plays. These translations present the work of "The Bard" in language accessible to modern audiences while never losing the beauty of Shakespeare’s verse. These volumes make these works available for the first time in print—a new First Folio for a new era.
Elise Thoron is a playwright, director, and translator. Her plays have been produced in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Cuba.