The situation created by writer David Gow in his two-character play, "Cherry Docs," is virtually guaranteed to produce explosive drama. A skinhead facing trial for a racially motivated murder is being defended by a Jewish publicly appointed attorney. The cherry docs of the title refer to the steel-toed cherry-colored Doc Marten combat boots the youth wore when he repeatedly kicked his victim.
“The American Jewish community has a problem keeping silent,” says scholar Michael Berenbaum, and he ascribes the “problem” to guilt over our collective failure to speak up during the Holocaust.
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.