'We are living in a hellscape': Tracy-Ann Oberman reveals extra security added to The Merchant of Venice

19 October 2023, 19:03 | Updated: 19 October 2023, 19:24

Tracy-Ann Oberman tells Andrew Marr ‘we are living in a hellscape’

By Asher McShane

Tracy-Ann Oberman has said her touring production of The Merchant of Venice 1936 has had to increase security measures in the wake of violence in Israel and Gaza.

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She told Andrew Marr on LBC: "I just know that the producers last week decided to put on security for the show.

“I think they didn't want to worry me or the cast. But I think it's symptomatic of myself and I have to say, my community.

“And I'm talking globally, you know, I'm talking from A-listers that I know in Hollywood to ordinary people on the streets of London, we're feeling desperately alone, and desperately frightened at the moment.

“We do feel very alone, we feel after the atrocities that happened after the terrorist attack the other day, that there has seemingly been very little empathy and very little understanding towards our community that not only feels alone and existentially frightened, but physically now very frightened.”

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“I think what people have to understand is when they're shouting 'from the river to the sea' they're actually shouting Hamas' chant, which basically calls for the death and destruction of Jews around the world, and the destruction of the State of Israel.

“So, it felt very threatening and very upsetting. I know that the producers were very good about protecting me from the specific threats but I think whatever way you look at it, a Jewish actress playing The Merchant of Venice, playing Shylock on stage in a very short political and actually very beautiful production that calls for tolerance and unity has to be protected because of anti-Jewish extremists we are living in a hellscape.”