The Jewish actress, 57, has been touring with the Shakespeare production as lead character Shylock since February.
War broke out between Israel and Hamas after the terrorist group attacked a music festival and raided kibbutz in the first attacks on October 7, with Israel then retaliating with a devastating barrage of airstrikes on Gaza.
It has been escalating since then with the SAS prepared to ‘step in and help British hostages’ and Downing Street announcing on Thursday that at least nine British nationals have been killed among thousands of other deaths.
Former EastEnders star Oberman has described a rise in antisemitic behaviour since the conflict was reignited as ‘like a dystopian nightmare’.
‘We’re on a 10-week tour and I’ve been moved beyond words at the reactions of audiences and critics. Yet for the last week, the production has had to have security men around keeping an eye on things,’ the actress wrote in an op-ed for the October 21 edition of The Spectator.
‘It’s like a dystopian nightmare.’
She added: ‘A Jewish actress putting on a play about antisemitism which needs to be made secure because of Jew-hating extremists. As one reviewer said: ‘Written in 1600, set in 1936, as relevant today in 2023.’ Ain’t that the truth.’
Oberman also wrote that she had ‘felt broken’ ever since Hamas’ October 7 attack.
‘On stage, when I say the lines ‘When you prick us do we not bleed? When you tickle us, do we not laugh? When you poison us do we not die?,’ I weep for all the innocent victims, and I know we must stand together against an evil that wants to rip us apart. And the audiences cry too.’
The drama, written in 1598, follows a Jewish money-lender, reimagined as a resilient single mother and businesswoman, who strikes a high-stakes deal with a merchant.
For this RSC production, the action has been transported to 1930s Britain and the Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Mosely’s British Union of Fascists.
On Thursday, Oberman also took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to thank fans for their support and share her piece.
‘Thank you for all your lovely messages. I am all good. This production @MOV1936 is winning audiences around the country,’ she shared, adding: ‘I’m overwhelmed with support. Please have a read. #shalomsalaam’
The Merchant of Venice 1936 is currently playing in Malvern Theatres, Worcestershire, and is set to tour to Bromley, York, Chichester, Cardiff and Manchester this year.
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