The Merchant of Venice (1999)

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Poster by Poster Designer

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Jack King

Performances: Tue – Sat September 1999, Bell Theatre


"Probably written some time between 1596 and 1598, this classic tale of love and hate, revenge and prejudice is as problematic a play as you will find in the Bard's whole repertoire. Scratch the surface of the text and numerous ambiguities immediately become apparent. This is a world peopled by hypocrites and manipulators. No-one is ever quite what they seem. Bassanio, outwardly so noble, none-the-less exploits the latent homosexual tendencies of Antonio to his own ends. Portia, every inch a heroine, is wilful and impetuous, who woman who, cavalierly risks the life of her husband's best friend on a whim. Jessica, the sweet young thing who abandons her father and her faith for the frothy frivolities of the gentiles. Lorenzo, her loving husband who thinks nothing of robbing his father-in-law blind before they leave. Shylock himself, a man of commerce and honourable trade, yet overcome by black-hearted vengeance when crossed. Even Launcelot, the clown, is a dark brooding kind of comic."

"In this production, you are offered the decadent, frivolous Venice of Mussolini's heyday. Life is characterised by the games and gossip of its cafe society, but underneath the surface there simmers a brooding tension, an undercurrent of violence and prejudice waiting to erupt.



Thanks to: Elaine Heath, Shannon Ludden, Anton Krause


Some review quotes go here


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