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News Release

SHYLOCK DEMYSTIFIED AT THE SAIDYE BRONFMAN CENTRE
February 2003

MONTREAL, February 2003 - Playing from March 17 until April 6, 2003 is the remarkable one-man show featuring Welsh-born Shakespearean actor Gareth Armstrong in his own creation: Shylock. Through the eyes of Shylock’s best friend, Tubal, Armstrong explores the many facets of this unique comic villain and, by association, the images of Jews throughout history, from Elizabethan times through Hitler’s Nazi Germany until today. Armstrong has toured this engaging play to high acclaim throughout the world, from Europe to Asia and India as well as in North America.
“It delights, enlightens and dazzles” – San Francisco Jewish Bulletin
“Wonderfully written, astoundingly well acted” – Stratford-Upon-Avon
Two major events are planned in association with this production. The first is part of the regular Sunday-@-the-Saidye (S@TS) series, in which the SBC Theatre enriches the theatre-going experience with lively discussions and guest speakers who in some way enhance the background of the upcoming production. Mr. Tibor Egervari, University of Ottawa Theatre Professor and Chairman of the Visual Arts Department, will co-host the event with the actor/playwright, Gareth Armstrong, on Sunday, March 16th at 11:00 AM in the Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre. Armstrong and Egervari, who hopes one day to produce his work Marchand de Venise de Shakespeare à Auschwitz in his home country of Hungary, have common Jewish themes in their original works and the discussion promises to be intriguing as well as informative. In the past year the SBC Theatre has had such prestigious speakers as Senator Laurier LaPierre and Dr. Joe Schwarcz, who held audiences spellbound with their knowledge, creativity and wit. The Shylock event guarantees to fall into the same vein - don’t miss the opportunity to attend. All S@TS events are free to the public and all are welcome, whatever the degree of interest in theatre.

The second special event is in partnership with the Canadian Jewish Congress – Quebec Region (CJC), and is within the framework of the Action Week Against Racism (AWAR). Following the 8:00 PM performance of Shylock on Thursday, March 20, there will be a discussion in the theatre with the playwright (Armstrong), the President of the CJC (Quebec Region), Mr. Joseph Gabay and a representative from AWAR. The topic will be ‘Anti-Semitism’.

Shylock’s director, Frank Barrie, also hails from a strong classical background, having played opposite Laurence Olivier in The Merchant of Venice at the National Theatre – just one feather in a capful of Shakespearean triumphs! His own work, Macready, played both in the West End and on Broadway, winning him the Best Actor Award from the London Critics.

Robert Friedman is one of the busiest and most eclectic impresarios working today with over 30 years experience in the business. Besides representing both of Gareth Armstrong’s works (Shylock and Doctor Prospero), Friedman handles bookings for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Rick Miller’s MacHomer, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Black Light Theatre of Prague and the Moscow Classical Ballet to name a few.

The SBC Theatre is proud to have the support of the following corporate and media sponsors: Via Rail, Le Cantlie Suites Hotel, CBC Television, The Gazette, CJAD 800 and Mix 96, with Hydro Québec as the season sponsor. The British Council, Heritage Canada, Québec Culture and Communications, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Ville de Montréal also contributed to this production.