Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Determine Shylock’s Fate in Production of ‘Merchant of Venice’


Shakespearean casting often goes to surprising and enlightening places: Flavorwire published a list of Shakespeare productions that used the playwright’s work to push the boundaries of theatrical and social norms. And recent news of one casting choice from a production of The Merchant of Venice deserves its place in this canon of surprising casting… though it’s also more comically fitting than unconventional.

ABC News reports that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be playing a cameo in a production of Shakespeare’s dark comedy — which is part of a long commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Venice Italy’s Jewish ghetto. The 83-year old judge will be playing the role of…wait for it… the judge presiding over the trial of Venice v. Shylock.

Ginsburg has, in the past, revealed a love of the stage. Following the death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, people were reminded that the two of them bonded over their shared appreciation for opera (meanwhile, a comic opera was written about said bond, which RBG attended). Ginsburg explained in Politico that she played Dick the butcher in Henry IV (reciting one line) for a theater company who had a tradition of inviting Supreme Court Justices to perform. She also in the past contributed a reading of a monologue by Rabbit Hole writer David Lindsay-Abaire for a production that comprised a series of speeches about the Civil War.

According to the Washington Post , the performance will be part of nine months of events within the ghetto. The production will be directed by Karin Coonrod and will run from July 26 through July 31.