When Warsaw Ghetto-escapee Sarah visits the Venice Ghetto she happens to witness a group of actors staging a dress rehearsal of The Merchant of Venice, upon this chance encounter Sarah is confronted by the terrible story of 'The Jew' which touches her own life.
Through this emotive and provocative play Julia Pascal re-works Shakespeare’s controversial text, transposing the fervent theme of anti-Semitism raised by the bard, playing it out in a contemporary setting. Challenging the portrayal of 'The Jew' that for many years has dominated society's attitudes towards the Jewish people, Pascal ambitiously places her own text within Shakespeare's classic, producing a thoroughly thought-provoking and original work.
Julia Pascal's plays are edgy personal and political dramas often connected to Jewish culture and history. From British collaboration with the Nazis on the Channel Islands to current Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, they explore the complexity of the most highly-charged conflicts of our age. These texts range from dance-theatre Expressionism to naturalism and often offer large roles to women which challenge stereotypes. The plays have an international dimension. Year Zero is set in Vichy France. St Joan in London and Paris. The Dybbuk takes place in Eastern European ghetto. Crossing Jerusalem is 24 hours in the life of a Jerusalem family. Honeypot is a spy story situated in Stockholm and Paris. Styles range from cabaret to thriller. And always there is sharp dialogue that is often darkly funny as well as disturbing. The plays have been staged in the UK, the USA, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden.