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'Glister' has grown up and is GLOWING

Chris Balbi

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Bowtie Boy has been trekking around philly for 3 years. He enjoys theatre, beer gardens and intellectual conversations that lead nowhere. When he's not free-lancing his social media management and digital marketing strategies, he's at home in his underwear watching Dr. Who and eating Reese's puffs.
posted by Chris Balbi on Sep 15, 2017 10:30am | comments


What do you get when you throw themes from Animal Farm, the story of Merchant of Venice, Rock Music and glamour in a blender? GLISTER.

Glister tells the story of Shylock, Portia, and Bassanio as they struggle to find common ground in a world controlled by judgement and greed.

I caught up with Eric Jaffe and asked him why Glister was so important to him and what changes were brought to Fringe this year.

"Glister has evolved greatly since our run in June! We have added a new character, written new songs, and revised the scrips. Every single performer is more fully realized and developed, and I got a new wig, which is reason enough to see the show!"

Even more exciting was my opputurnity to talk with the director Anna Michael

When first we began adapting Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, we struggled in grappling with Shylock’s Judaism and how it relates to our version of the story. Initially we thought that the anti- Semitism in the piece may be too hard to handle sensitively, best not to deal with it at all. We thought it was more important to focus on money and capitalism as the true villains of this story. However, due to recent events in this country, we feel that it is urgently important that we discuss the matter of anti-Semitism here and now in this theatre. In the original text, Shylock is the target of anti-Semitism both in the way he is treated by other characters, and also in the way he is portrayed. There is much debate on what Shakespeare’s stance was on the matter. We believe that Shakespeare was creating a character that audiences were meant to empathize with. When ill befalls Shylock, I don’t believe audiences are meant to feel that he got what he deserved. Make no mistake: we do portray Shylock as a villain among many villains in a story filled with the worst people in the world. However, ultimately we hope audiences conclude that Shylock was pushed into a villainous role by a society that puts profit over people and demonizes the “other.” In our show, we hope to challenge audiences to take a deeper look at how our world, and our country in particular, treats non-Christian people. We hope to challenge the idea that anti-Semitism isn’t relevant today, and to generate empathy for those who suffer at the hands of bigotry. As a Jewish person, going through this show as Shylock is challenging in a personal way. I have been the target of anti- Semitism, and my communities have been the targets of hate crimes. I have been afraid to wear Jewish emblems, and have had to hide my Judaism for my own safety. I will be portraying the role of Shylock on the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and feel both a deep sense of irony, but also a strong feeling of belonging and appropriateness. My hope is that fellow members of the Jewish community feel seen and heard, and that those who are not Jewish are given the opportunity to see and hear. In Judaism, there is a concept called “Tikkun Olam,” and it means, “to Heal the World”. We hope that in navigating this uncomfortable and painful topic, we can inspire healing through activism and empathy. Anna Michael Founder of Hum’n’bards & Creator of GLI$TER

Featuring original music by the clowns, Glister will transport you to a sexy, glitter-fueled world where the Banker always wins. Join the Banker and his tribe of Sad American Clowns in this rock and roll cabaret performance, but come prepared to tip because these clowns work for cash and an empty hat can stop the show.

Eric Jaffe, Travis Fischbach, Jeremy Adam,
Christina Higgins (9/12, 9/14, 9/15, 9/17), Anna Michael (9/7, 9/9, 9/21, 9/23)
Lexi Pozonsky (9/14, 9/17, 9/21, & 9/23) and Taylor Plunkett-Clements (9/7, 9/9, 9/12, & 9/15)

You can find tickets here -

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