THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is a complicated and dramatic comedy. In a climate of anti-Semitism that permeated the canals of Venice in the 16th century, Shylock the Jew has a fierce hatred for one of his oppressors - Antonio, a renowned merchant of Venice. To help a friend win a wife, cash-poor Antonio seeks a loan from Shylock, who instead of asking for interest on the loan, asks for one pound of flesh if the loan is not re-paid in time. The play is full of laughs, cross-dressing, weddings, escapes, and incredible dramatic tension as the fate of Antonio & Shylock is decided in a Venetian courtroom.
Performances will be August 11-13 at 7pm and August 13 & 14 at 2pm.
More about the show:
Take fifteen teenagers, a four hundred year old play, two hours, three thousand ducats, and a pound of flesh and what do you have? A black comedy with high stakes, adolescent malice, and refreshing perspective.
Vann says, “Antonio’s act – going to ask for money from the Jew - is probably the only selfless, or mostly selfless act in the play. No one else’s actions are motivated by friendship or love.”
“The kids are just getting into the idea of being mean to each other. It was hard for a while – they’re such good kids!” says Keely Eastley, vocal coach. “How do you get them to really look at each other with malice, with anger and hatred? They’ve all grown so much in their acting from this experience.”
This is not Al Pacino’s Merchant of Venice. This production has the freshness of a young cast passionate about Shakespeare, and the rawness of adolescent experience and emotion.
This production utilizes design elements from the High Renaissance period of Venice. Carnavale fun, Caravaggio’s imagery, and classical guitar all weave themselves into the story to create a magical, mysterious, and menacing feel.
Kim Ainsworth plays beautiful music on her guitar to accompany scenes. The costumes, designed by alumna Monika Grist-Weiner drape luxuriously, bringing the cast back to a time where culture was guided by opulence and material wealth. The major set piece is a tall bridge – designed and built by Rick Barron and the Technical Theatre Program’s students. The bridge is a centerpiece to the action of the play and brings the audience to the far-off watery city of Venice, Italy, with its many canals.