Piero Cividalli's paintings call to mind decayed Italian frescos and prehistoric art. But these nods to the past are woven through Cividalli's artistic vision, emerging as finished pieces both intelligent and original.
Since the Holocaust, "The Merchant of Venice" -- which opens Sunday at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum -- has been Shakespeare's most controversial play. The story of Shylock, the moneylender who demands his "pound of flesh," has been lauded by some as humanistic and condemned by others as anti-Semitic.
The melancholy comedy, written 300 years after the Jews were expelled from England in 1290, is the frequently produced in Israel. It's also been banned from school districts in Michigan and New York and denounced by Los Angeles-area rabbis.