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Folger Shakespeare Library to Host Free Forum on Race and Religion

by Tim Regan — May 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

District Merchant, photo via Facebook : Folger TheatreThe Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St. SE) is scheduled to host a free forum this Sunday meant to examine race and religion

The forum, dubbed CrossTalk DC, will feature scenes from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and “District Merchants,” a D.C.-centric re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “Merchant” from playwright Aaron Posner.

The purpose of the forum, according to a press release, is “to bring disparate publics together to think about race and religion thoughtfully and deeply, through the lens of literature and history.”

Caleen Jennings, a playwright and American University theater professor, will lead participants in small group discussions. Refreshments will also be served.

Read the full press release from Folger:

Folger Shakespeare Library will host the CrossTalk DC Kick-Off Forum on Sunday, May 15. CrossTalk DC is a community engagement initiative to bring disparate publics together to think about race and religion thoughtfully and deeply, through the lens of literature and history. More than 14 CrossTalk DC conversations and forums will happen across the District between May and October.

Two theater pieces will serve as the catalyst for conversation: The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s brutal and still highly controversial play about prejudice, violence and materialism among Jewish and Christian characters written in 1596-97, and District Merchants, Aaron Posner’s re-imagining of Shakespeare’s characters as Jews and African-Americans living in 1870’s Washington, DC, and, later, Belmont, Massachusetts, which will receive its world premiere at Folger Theatre this June.

Forum participants will listen to actors read brief scenes from both plays, then have an open discussion about identity and differences. The conversation continues over light refreshments. To RSVP, go to http://www.folger.edu/eform/submit/crosstalk-forum.

Photo via Facebook / FolgerTheatre

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