In early modern Italy, an unusual form of exchange between Jewish and Christian communities materialized in Mantua: Jews in Mantua were required to perform an annual play as a tribute to their Gonzaga rulers. Elsewhere in the Italian peninsula, far more onerous performances were extorted from the Jews during carnival, but in the Mantuan performances, several communities - the ruling Gonzaga family, the Jewish community, and Christian audience members - interacted. I consider these performances a form of taxation because the full cost, which was extensive, was borne by the Jewish community. However, the performances were more than mere payment; they also gave the Jewish community a degree of autonomy and expression and enabled performers to develop their artistic skills, albeit always as the members of the company of the Jews, a group that was set apart from the rest of society in early modern Mantua. These theatrical performances can be seen as a public reification of the Jewish community as a distinctively marked but legitimate component of Mantua's economy and social landscape. This dynamic continued in Mantua even as Jews in other parts of Italy were subjected to extremely harsh conditions during the Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Inquisition. © 2013 American Society for Theatre Research.