We’ve just returned from a weekend in Vancouver, where we saw two Bard on the Beach shows: “The Merchant of Venice” and “Shylock”, neither an easy show to stage. For context, we visited the exhibit at the Italian Cultural Centre: “The Venetian Ghetto, 1516 – 2017”. This is the only showing of this exhibit outside the Doge’s Apartments in Venice. An amazing virtual reconstruction of the cramped Jewish ghetto allows the viewer to swoop in from the skies, then zoom along the narrow streets and canals illustrating the confined spaces and rich interiors in a way unimaginable without technology. Synagogues were carved into the interiors of existing buildings, which were themselves built upward within a very restricted perimeter. “The Merchant of Venice” in modern dress offered a contemporaneous and edgy, but enlightening, and very topical, interpretation of social scapegoating; “Shylock” explored subsequent generations’ difficulties dealing with historical stereotyping; and the ghetto exhibit grounded this fictitious character firmly in history. The gondola, pictured, was in one of the museum windows.