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SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED: The Merchant Of Venice with F. Murray Abraham

Airs Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Courtesy of Blakeway Productions

Above: "The Merchant of Venice" hosted by F. Murray Abraham.

The fascinating history behind Shakespeare’s greatest plays continues with a third season of SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED.

The ambitious series concludes with celebrated new hosts Helen Hunt, F. Murray Abraham, Romola Garai, Brian Cox, Simon Russell Beale and Sir Antony Sher, who seamlessly weave their personal passions with history, biography, iconic performances and new analysis to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s famous works.

The final season investigates “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Measure for Measure,” “Julius Caesar,” “The Winter’s Tale” and “Richard III.”

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED Series 3: Preview

The final season investigates "Much Ado About Nothing," "The Merchant of Venice," "Measure for Measure," "Julius Caesar," "The Winter’s Tale" and "Richard III."

Each episode reveals the extraordinary world and works of William Shakespeare and the still-potent impact his plays have today.

The films combine interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations and illustrative excerpts from the plays staged specially for the series at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED reveals not just the elements in the play, but the history of the play itself:

  • What sparked the creation of each of these works?
  • Where did Shakespeare find his plots and what new forms of theater did he forge?
  • What cultural, political and religious factors influenced his writing?
  • How have the plays been staged and interpreted from Shakespeare’s time to now?
  • Why at different times has each play been popular — or ignored?
  • Why has this body of work endured so thoroughly?
  • What, in the end, makes Shakespeare unique?

“The Merchant of Venice” Preview

F. Murray Abraham untangles the controversies surrounding “The Merchant of Venice,” addressing the ubiquitous anti-Semitism that characterized Europe in Shakespeare’s time.

Shakespeare probably never met a Jewish person.

Three centuries before “The Merchant of Venice” was written, England became the first country in medieval Europe to expel its Jewish population.

Abraham addresses the ubiquitous anti-Semitism that characterized Europe in Shakespeare’s time.

Comparing Shylock to the stock Jewish villain of the day, the episode looks at the efforts over the years to interpret him as both villain and victim.

Hath Not a Jew Eyes?

Pushed to the edge, Shylock passionately insists that Jews are no different than any other people, with common humanity, feelings – and desire for revenge.

The Tangle of Love and Money

Shylock’s relationship with his daughter Jessica, complicated by love, money and their inability to truly understand each other, becomes explosive.

Watch On Your Schedule:

All 6 episodes from Season 3 are available for streaming on demand with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Join The Conversation:

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED is on Facebook. #ShakespearePBS

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Credits:

Produced by Blakeway Productions, 116 Films and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with PBS and Shakespeare’s Globe. For Blakeway Productions, Richard Denton and Nicola Stockley are series producers. For THIRTEEN, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, with David Horn as executive producer. Stephen Segaller is executive in charge.

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