Friday, August 03, 2007

Graham Greene as Shylock

I'm in Stratford, Ontario, where we spend a few days each year at the Shakespeare Festival. This year, for the first time ever, there is a Native actor on stage here. It's Graham Greene, and he's doing Shylock in Merchant of Venice, and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. We have tickets to both.

Here's an excerpt from an interview with Greene:

“Shylock’s forced conversion to Christianity is not unlike the First Nations people being forced into Christianity,” notes Greene, an Oneida who was born on Ontario’s Six Nations Reserve.

And the fundamental misunderstanding between Shylock and his Christian clients brings to mind such ongoing disputes as the continuing Caledonia land claim dispute in southern Ontario. “There are a lot of parallels there,” says Greene."

You can read the full article here.

And a few words about Thomas King...

In a bookstore here yesterday, I got a copy of a Thomas King book I hadn't seen before. Called A Short History of Indians in Canada, it is a book of short stories. One is called "Where the Borg Are." If you're a sci-fi fan, or a fan of Star Trek, you know who the Borg are... Here's the first two paragraphs of "Where the Borg Are."

By the time Milton Friendlybear finished reading Olive Patricia Dickenson's Canada's First Nations for a tenth grade history assignment, he knew, without a doubt, where the Borg had gone after they had been defeated by Jean-Luc Picard and the forces of the Federation. And he included his discovery in an essay on great historical moments in Canadian history.

Milton's teacher, Virginia Merry, was not as impressed with Milton's idea as he had hoped. "Milton," she said, in that tone of voice that many lapsed Ontario Catholics reserved for correcting faulty logic, bad grammar, and inappropriate behavior, "I'm not sure that the Indian Act of 1875 is generally considered an important moment in Canadian history."
Intrigued? I am!

1 comment:

aniroo said...

I am envious. I'm a long time fan of Greene and have always thought that Shylock was the victim. The anti- semitism of the play lies in the way the Christians treat Shylock, not the actions of Shylock himself. I honestly could never see this play as a comedy, as it is often presented, possibly as it was written.