SCR’s Julianne Argyros Stage Opens with "District Merchants"

Madeline Porter
 | Oct 10, 2016
Teller, Director Michael Michetti

Teller, Director Michael Michetti, Playwright Aaron Posner and Honorary Producers Talya Nevo-Hacohen & Bill Schenker at the First Night of District Merchants.

A Thought-Provoking Riff on The Merchant of Venice

At South Coast Repertory on Friday, Oct, 7, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice got a new setting (post-Civil War Washington, D.C.), electrified storytelling, heightened humor and more romance in Aaron Posner’s District Merchants—and the audience went wild.

After a standing ovation, First Nighters joined the eight-member cast, Director Michael Michetti and the designers and other artists for a celebration on Ela’s Terrace, where Posner’s hints at life in America today—scattered throughout the play—made for lively post-production conversation, given the current tumultuous race for the White House.

The party’s metal stools and chairs added a modern touch to the décor of lanterns, complemented by florals in wooden boxes and old-fashioned prints. Even the hors d'oeuvres, by Crème de la Crème, recalled tastes of yesteryear. As playgoers sipped the evening’s signature drink (“Capitol City Fizz,” concocted with Tito’s Handmade Vodka), they lavished more praise on the production’s underwriters, Talya Nevo-Hacohen and Bill Schenker and Samuel and Tammy Tang.

The two couples have been with the show from the beginning, enjoying all the benefits that go with being Honorary Producers, like attending design presentations, table readings and technical rehearsals...  Did District Merchants live up to their expectations?

A resounding “yes” came from both:

Talya Nevo-Hacohen said, “Bill and I understood the message of District Merchants to be important in our current political environment, and hope that our involvement results in more people being touched by the soul of this play.”

Sam and Tammy agreed that, “District Merchants was moving, emotional, eye-opening; it’s a play that provokes us to examine our hearts, motives, and prejudices in an honest and humorous way!”

Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Try watching it here.