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The Arts

Young Shakespeareans debut new documentary

BRATTLEBORO—On Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Get Thee to the Funnery Shakespeare Camps present the documentary, Qualities of “Mercy?” It will be streamed on YouTube at

In 2020, the Vermont youth camp took on actors from India and tackled the problematic Shakespeare play Merchant of Venice. Campers used the text to confront prejudice, violence, and hate speech.

They dealt with the pandemic lockdown, responded to the Black Lives Matter movement, and put on a play. From distances spanning 8,000 miles, they recorded their discussions and rehearsals, their discomfort and their laughter, on their laptops and phones.

The many hours of material were whittled down to an hour by Burlington videographer Isaiah Palmeri and Funnery founder Peter Gould.

Two weeks after the premiere, on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m., campers Gouri Bhuyan from Mumbai and Audrey Grant from Vermont, longtime Funnery veteran (and Vermont Humanities Council literacy officer) Jonny Flood, and Gould will host a panel discussion about the film.

This will be an official event in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Night of Ideas, described on its website as “an all-night virtual marathon of creative performances and talks featuring top intellectuals and artists from the U.S., France, and around the world.”

Audience participation is encouraged: you can find the Zoom invitation and register for this free event at

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Originally published in The Commons issue #595 (Wednesday, January 13, 2021). This story appeared on page A6.

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