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Oh Great, Another Woman Who Only Loves Me For My Complete Collection Of ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ Manga

Well isn’t that great—just great. Here I am, thinking I’ve finally met someone who’s perfect for me—she’s caring, smart, beautiful, and most of all, it seemed like she really got me. But I should have known better. Turns out she’s just like the rest of them, just another in a long line of women who only love me for my complete collection of the classic wandering samurai manga Rurouni Kenshin.

Disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings Not Living Up To Ridicule

LOS ANGELES—Describing the experience as a significant letdown, local diner Eric Tidwell told reporters that the disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings franchise he visited Thursday night failed to live up to the scorn he had long heard about the restaurant.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

‘Our Town’ Cast Party Going Off The Rails

PEEKSKILL, NY—Describing a wild scene in which performers and stagehands were loudly conversing, laughing, and occasionally breaking back into their characters from the play, sources confirmed Sunday night that the cast party for the local production of Our Town is currently going off the rails.

Thieves Make Off With Museum’s Most Valuable Docents

CHICAGO—In what is being described as a sophisticated and well-executed heist, thieves stole nine of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most valuable docents in broad daylight this morning, according to museum and law enforcement officials.
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Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time, Place Shakespeare Intended

MORRISTOWN, NJ—In an innovative, tradition-defying rethinking of one of the greatest comedies in the English language, Morristown Community Players director Kevin Hiles announced Monday his bold intention to set his theater's production of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in 16th-century Venice.

"I know when most people hear The Merchant Of Venice, they think 1960s Las Vegas, a high-powered Manhattan stock brokerage, or an 18th-century Georgia slave plantation, but I think it's high time to shake things up a bit," Hiles said. "The great thing about Shakespeare is that the themes in his plays are so universal that they can be adapted to just about any time and place."

According to Hiles, everything in the production will be adapted to the unconventional setting. Swords will replace guns, ducats will be used instead of the American dollar or Japanese yen, and costumes, such as Shylock's customary pinstripe suit, general's uniform, or nudity, will be replaced by garb of the kind worn by Jewish moneylenders of the Italian Renaissance.

"Audiences may be taken aback initially by the lack of Creole accents," Hiles said. "But I think if they pay close enough attention, they'll recognize that all the metaphors, similes, and puns remain firmly intact, maybe even more so, in the Elizabethan dialect."

Added Hiles: "After all, a pound of flesh is a pound of flesh, whether you're trying to woo a lady in 16th-century Europe, or you're a high school senior trying to impress your girlfriend with a limo ride to the prom, like in the last Merchant production MCP did in '95."

Though Hiles, 48, is a veteran regional- theater director with extensive Shakespeare experience, he said he has never taken such an unconventional departure. The Community Players' 1999 production of Othello was set during the first Gulf War, 2001's The Tempest took place on a canoe near the Bermuda Triangle, and last year's "stripped- down," post-apocalyptic version of Hamlet presented the tragedy in the year 3057.

Hiles said he became drawn to the prospect of setting the play in such an unorthodox locale while casually rereading the play early last year. He noticed that Venice was mentioned several times in the text, not only in character dialogue, but also in italics just before the first character speaks. After doing some additional research, Hiles also learned that 16th-century Europe was a troubled and tumultuous region plagued by a great intolerance toward Jews, historical context which could serve as the social backdrop for the play's central conflict.

"Even the names just sort of fell into place," said Hiles, who had been planning to center the play around an al-Qaeda terrorist cell before going with an avant-garde take. "Theater is about taking risks, and I'm really excited to meet this newest challenge."

Some of Hiles' actors, however, have reacted negatively to his decision. Some are worried Hiles lacks the knowledge and talent to pull off the radical revisionist interpretation, while others characterized it as "self-indulgent."

"I guess it's the director's dramatic license to put his own personal spin on the play he is directing, but this is a little over-the-top," said Stacey Silverman, who played Nurse Brutus in Hiles' 2003 all-female version of Julius Caesar. "I just think Portia not being an aviatrix does a tremendous disservice to the playwright."

Added Silverman: "You just don't mess with a classic."

More from this section

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

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