Sydney Opera House, twilight.

How dangerous is mercy?

4 September, Sydney.

This event is already close to selling out, so move with a bridegroom’s fresh alacrity if you want tickets.

The Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas this year will include a cross-disciplinary session inspired by The Merchant of Venice which is sure to be fascinating.

In an innovative format, a performance of the trial scene from The Merchant of Venice will accompany a panel discussion with experts offering literary, philosophical and legal perspectives on the issues raised by this passage.

From the SOH website:

“The quality of mercy is not strained: It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. / Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blessed him that gives, and him that takes.” – Portia, The Merchant of Venice

Have we lost the quality of mercy? If we aim only for what is fair, or for justice, do we narrow the scope for something better? Is there still room for mercy in a secular state?

Sydney Opera House and Bell Shakespeare collaborate to bring the courtroom session from The Merchant of Venice to life and focus on contemporary dilemmas of mercy, justice and the law.

Speakers: Deng Adut, A.C. Grayling, Germaine Greer and Michael Kirby, Chaired by Jane Caro

Cast: John Bell (Duke), Brian Lipson (Shylock), Andrea Demetriades (Portia), James Evans (Antonio), Damien Strouthos (Bassanio), Jacob Warner (Gratiano), Directed by Peter Evans

Full details here.