THE PRICE OF JUSTICE IN THE MERCHANT OF VENICE…
CalibanCo Theatre proudly announces the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, playing Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings May 5-20 at 7:30 PM at 610 W. 28th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408.
Their first production since receiving the City Page’s “Best of” award, CalibanCo presents a tale with lasting social resonance that remains frighteningly relevant today. While considered one of Shakespeare’s comedies, The Merchant of Venice presents a difficult, striking account of moral and ethical corruption in which no one is excused. Amidst the laughter, runs the undercurrent of love, mercy, and revenge.
The story centers on Shakespeare’s masterfully drawn antagonist, Shylock, a Jewish money-lender, who is confronted with prejudice and his own bloody desire for revenge. Portia, a young socialite, has her faith and honor tested with a new, budding romance and culminating in a life-and-death courtroom war of words.
Jared Reise directs a stellar cast including Shawn Hoffman as Shylock and Brandon Williams as Portia as well as Jeremiah Stich, Jody Bee, Brian Watson-Jones, Ryan Kathman, Kathy Kupiecki, and Andrew Cleveland.
Admission for all performances is “Pay What We’re Worth”. Reserve your seats today by calling (952) 210-8295!
SPOTLIGHT: "The Merchant of Venice"
by Quinton Skinner
May 10, 2006
Eight actors tackle eighteen roles in this stripped-down CalibanCo production of The Merchant of Venice, a show that frequently transcends its low-budget production values with a number of engaged performances. Shakespeare's familiar set-up has Bassanio (Ryan Kathman) trying to borrow money from Anthonio (Jeremiah Stich) in order to squire the lovely and available Portia (Brandon Williams). Anthonio is temporarily cash-poor, so he borrows the dough from Shylock (Shawn Hoffman), a moneylender and, famously, a Jew. Hoffman growls with pent-up malice and booms Shakespeare's dialogue with precision. Along the way, he makes Shylock's case that he might not be such a wretch if everyone didn't insist on calling him "Jew" all the time, as well as remarking on his canine qualities. Director Jared Reise has placed the action in a quasi-Jazz Age setting, though wisely the concept is soft-pedaled. Williams provides a welcome note of sassy mischief throughout, and Kathman stands out as the romantic hero as well as an over-the-top turn as one of Portia's series of ridiculous suitors. A funny interlude places Shylock on a golf course, whacking unseen balls while everyone makes cruel sport of him, making light of his daughter Jessica (Kathy Kupiecki) running off with her lover. By the time we reach the final scenes, essentially a courtroom drama in which Shylock tries to extract his pound of flesh from the stoic Anthonio, Hoffman works himself into an impressive lather, and he captures Shylock's final debasement with painful tones. There are missteps along the way--a couple of musical numbers probably should have been left on the drawing board, for the cast does not make one yearn for them to tackle a musical any time in the future--but the players manage a real sense of cohesion, presence, and purpose.
The Merchant of Venice - 2006
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