Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in The Merchant of Venice. Witness Pop-up Globe’s all-male Buckingham’s Company take on Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy.

Already deep in debt to his best friend, Bassanio requires just one more loan to finance his scheme to woo and win the wealthy heiress Portia. But with Antonio’s capital all tied up in foreign trade, the two friends turn to the villainous moneylender Shylock, who agrees to fund their venture on one condition: if the debt is not repaid on time, the forfeit will be a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Blindly confident of success, Antonio accepts the fatal wager, unaware that when the due date comes he will be gambling for his life…

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy. The Merchant of Venice is brought to you by the Pop-up Globe Buckingham’s Company.

The Merchant of Venice opens on a street in Venice (there are streets and not just canals in Venice—who knew?) where Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains of a sadness he can't quite explain. His friends suggest they'd be sad too if they had as much merchandise to worry about as Antonio. Apparently all of his money is tied up in various sea ventures to exotic locales. But Antonio is certain it's not money that's bothering him.

Meanwhile, even rich heiresses have their troubles. Portia is plagued by suitors from the four corners of the earth but isn't allowed to choose the one she wants. Instead, her father, before his death, devised an unusual test. Three caskets—one gold, one silver, and one lead—are laid out before each suitor, and whoever picks the right one gets the girl. (It sounds like a twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.) Portia complains about all of the important men who come to see her, as there's something wrong with each of them.

As Portia is trying to figure out how to avoid marrying, Bassanio is trying to figure out how to marry her. He negotiates with the Jewish moneylender, Shylock, asking for 3,000 gold coins (ducats). Bassanio borrows the money on his friend Antonio's credit. Trouble is, Antonio is an anti-Semite (he is prejudiced against Jewish people) and is offensive to Shylock whenever he has the chance. 

The title page of the first edition of the play, printed in 1600, states that it has been 'divers times acted by the Lord Chamberlaine his Servants'. The first recorded performance was at court on Shrove Sunday, 10 February, 1605. King James and his courtiers must have enjoyed it because it was performed again two days later.

Public, rather than court, performances of Shakespeare's plays were performed in the open air, in daylight, on a simple thrust stage. No scenery and a minimum of props allowed the action to move swiftly and the audience to focus on the language. Music and costume added to the effect. Shakespeare wrote his plays with the strengths and talents of his fellow players in mind. His gifted boy players took the female roles so that the original audience had the unsettling experience of watching boys playing girls playing boys in the roles of Portia and Nerissa in the trial scene.

It is impossible to know how Shylock was first played. Since the early nineteenth century, Shylock has usually been played with dignity and a measure of understanding of why he does what he does. Perhaps the role was originally played by Will Kemp, the leading comic actor in the group, and the portrayal was harshly comic and influenced by the traditions of commedia dell'arte, or, perhaps, played in the red wig and false nose worn by villainous Jewish characters in the medieval Mystery plays. Perhaps Richard Burbage, the actor building a reputation for himself in tragic roles took the part - we simply don't know.

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THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

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Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in The Merchant of Venice. Witness Pop-up Globe’s all-male Buckingham’s Company take on Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy.

Already deep in debt to his best friend, Bassanio requires just one more loan to finance his scheme to woo and win the wealthy heiress Portia. But with Antonio’s capital all tied up in foreign trade, the two friends turn to the villainous moneylender Shylock, who agrees to fund their venture on one condition: if the debt is not repaid on time, the forfeit will be a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Blindly confident of success, Antonio accepts the fatal wager, unaware that when the due date comes he will be gambling for his life…

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy. The Merchant of Venice is brought to you by the Pop-up Globe Buckingham’s Company.

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in The Merchant of Venice. Witness Pop-up Globe’s all-male Buckingham’s Company take on Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy.

Already deep in debt to his best friend, Bassanio requires just one more loan to finance his scheme to woo and win the wealthy heiress Portia. But with Antonio’s capital all tied up in foreign trade, the two friends turn to the villainous moneylender Shylock, who agrees to fund their venture on one condition: if the debt is not repaid on time, the forfeit will be a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Blindly confident of success, Antonio accepts the fatal wager, unaware that when the due date comes he will be gambling for his life…

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy. The Merchant of Venice is brought to you by the Pop-up Globe Buckingham’s Company.

The Merchant of Venice opens on a street in Venice (there are streets and not just canals in Venice—who knew?) where Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains of a sadness he can't quite explain. His friends suggest they'd be sad too if they had as much merchandise to worry about as Antonio. Apparently all of his money is tied up in various sea ventures to exotic locales. But Antonio is certain it's not money that's bothering him.

Meanwhile, even rich heiresses have their troubles. Portia is plagued by suitors from the four corners of the earth but isn't allowed to choose the one she wants. Instead, her father, before his death, devised an unusual test. Three caskets—one gold, one silver, and one lead—are laid out before each suitor, and whoever picks the right one gets the girl. (It sounds like a twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.) Portia complains about all of the important men who come to see her, as there's something wrong with each of them.

As Portia is trying to figure out how to avoid marrying, Bassanio is trying to figure out how to marry her. He negotiates with the Jewish moneylender, Shylock, asking for 3,000 gold coins (ducats). Bassanio borrows the money on his friend Antonio's credit. Trouble is, Antonio is an anti-Semite (he is prejudiced against Jewish people) and is offensive to Shylock whenever he has the chance. 

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in The Merchant of Venice. Witness Pop-up Globe’s all-male Buckingham’s Company take on Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy.

Already deep in debt to his best friend, Bassanio requires just one more loan to finance his scheme to woo and win the wealthy heiress Portia. But with Antonio’s capital all tied up in foreign trade, the two friends turn to the villainous moneylender Shylock, who agrees to fund their venture on one condition: if the debt is not repaid on time, the forfeit will be a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Blindly confident of success, Antonio accepts the fatal wager, unaware that when the due date comes he will be gambling for his life…

Friendship, forbidden love, cunning disguises and ancient enmity culminate in a thrilling trial scene in Shakespeare’s most controversial comedy. The Merchant of Venice is brought to you by the Pop-up Globe Buckingham’s Company.

The Merchant of Venice opens on a street in Venice (there are streets and not just canals in Venice—who knew?) where Antonio, a Venetian merchant, complains of a sadness he can't quite explain. His friends suggest they'd be sad too if they had as much merchandise to worry about as Antonio. Apparently all of his money is tied up in various sea ventures to exotic locales. But Antonio is certain it's not money that's bothering him.

Meanwhile, even rich heiresses have their troubles. Portia is plagued by suitors from the four corners of the earth but isn't allowed to choose the one she wants. Instead, her father, before his death, devised an unusual test. Three caskets—one gold, one silver, and one lead—are laid out before each suitor, and whoever picks the right one gets the girl. (It sounds like a twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.) Portia complains about all of the important men who come to see her, as there's something wrong with each of them.

As Portia is trying to figure out how to avoid marrying, Bassanio is trying to figure out how to marry her. He negotiates with the Jewish moneylender, Shylock, asking for 3,000 gold coins (ducats). Bassanio borrows the money on his friend Antonio's credit. Trouble is, Antonio is an anti-Semite (he is prejudiced against Jewish people) and is offensive to Shylock whenever he has the chance. 

The title page of the first edition of the play, printed in 1600, states that it has been 'divers times acted by the Lord Chamberlaine his Servants'. The first recorded performance was at court on Shrove Sunday, 10 February, 1605. King James and his courtiers must have enjoyed it because it was performed again two days later.

Public, rather than court, performances of Shakespeare's plays were performed in the open air, in daylight, on a simple thrust stage. No scenery and a minimum of props allowed the action to move swiftly and the audience to focus on the language. Music and costume added to the effect. Shakespeare wrote his plays with the strengths and talents of his fellow players in mind. His gifted boy players took the female roles so that the original audience had the unsettling experience of watching boys playing girls playing boys in the roles of Portia and Nerissa in the trial scene.

It is impossible to know how Shylock was first played. Since the early nineteenth century, Shylock has usually been played with dignity and a measure of understanding of why he does what he does. Perhaps the role was originally played by Will Kemp, the leading comic actor in the group, and the portrayal was harshly comic and influenced by the traditions of commedia dell'arte, or, perhaps, played in the red wig and false nose worn by villainous Jewish characters in the medieval Mystery plays. Perhaps Richard Burbage, the actor building a reputation for himself in tragic roles took the part - we simply don't know.

Merchant of Venice: Entire Play


The Merchant of Venice (2004) - IMDb

Posted by 2018 article

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