May 29th, 2012

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The Merchant of Venice, Habima National Theatre, Globe to Globe, Shakespeare's Globe

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Cut and pasted from the Globe Website:

The Habima is the centre of Hebrew-language theatre worldwide. Founded in Moscow after the 1905 revolution, the company toured the world before eventually settling in Tel Aviv in the late 1920s. Since 1958, they have been recognised as the national theatre of Israel. This production, of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial and most human plays, marks their first visit to the United Kingdom.

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I went to see this tonight and this is what happened.

Cut and pasted from The Jewish Chronicle:

Anti-Israel protesters attempted to disrupt the Habima Theatre’s performance of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre on Monday evening.

The Globe’s artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, appealed for protesters not to disturb the show in a speech before the curtain went up. But the pro-Palestinian activists ignored him and several were removed from the theatre by security officials after shouting, waving banners and disturbing other audience members. A group of protesters were also physically picked up by their hands and feet by security after they began screaming and refused to stop or leave the venue.

With pro and anti Israel demonstrators outside the theatre, there were lengthy security checks on arrival and a heavy police presence as well as extra security organised by the Globe.

Despite protesters wielding signs that read “Israel is an apartheid state” the Habima actors maintained their composure and the show went on.

Follow the link to the full story:

Raks's Comment

I am Pro Palestine and I have the Free Palestine badges, flags and have been on many Pro Palestine marches.

However, Habima has every right to be part of the Globe to Globe Festival and to play alongside all the other international companies playing at the Festival.

Many countries across the world are guilty of human rights and civil rights abuses and violations and it would be wrong to single out, vilify and ban only Israel. I went to see the Palestinean Richard II and the Israeli The Merchant of Venice.

Stop the War, who I usually endorse and support, protested outside the Globe to try and disrupt and stop the performance. Their argument was that Habima regularly perform in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. For me, it would be more of an issue if Habima, the National Theatre of Israel, did not perform in those settlements. In my view, Stop the War and the protesters on this occasion were wrong.

Raks's Review

I have seen The Merchant of Venice many many many times, it is one of my top three Shakespeare plays. Habima did one thing differently to every other time I have seen Merchant played which made the play much more poignant for me. After the close of the play, when everyone else has gone off stage to live happily ever after, they had Shylock come back onto the stage with a suitcase, carrying a few pitiful belongings. He walked round the stage, with his head down, defeated, a broken man. I really felt for him and my heart went out to him. There was no other reaction that you could have. Stroke of genius - I loved it!
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GLEE @ PwC, the inclusive business network for gays, lesbians and everyone else

I used to work for PwC many many many moons ago, in what used to be their Public Services Division.

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Cut and pasted from the GLEE @ PwC website:

GLEE @ PwC - our inclusive business network for gays, lesbians and everyone else - is all about breaking down the barriers of difference and connecting people, celebrating that we’re all unique regardless of our sexuality, race, gender, religion or ability. So you don’t need a label like gay, lesbian, straight or bisexual – you just have to be up for embracing the uniqueness of all people.

We're proud to be known as the 'inclusive business network for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone Else'. We're keen to encourage membership from inside and outside of our firm. As well as encouraging lively and informative debate, we're committed to providing a range of business events during the year.

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Find out more about them here:

Gaystarnews have just run the most amazing feature on them:
GLEE at work: A gay staff group for everyone. GSN interviews Andy Woodfield from PwC on how they have created GLEE, an LGBT staff network which works for straight people too: