Hello from Turtle and Moose! Yesterday, we saw The Merchant of Venice, performed by The Globe Players and written by William Shakespeare, at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. It is a very comical and enjoyable play that is a must watch for everyone. The Globe Players is a high school troupe that has been working together and learning about Shakespeare for six weeks and they have done a wonderful job with this show.
One of our favorite characters is Shylock because he is greedy and a very visibly evil character. Another one of our favorite characters is Old Gabbo; we love the gut-busting hysteria that comes after he cries. It is the perfect funniest, saddest, most awkward thing we have ever seen. We love when he always turns the wrong way when he is talking to people and it takes his son pushing his face toward the person he is speaking to for it to be a legitimate conversation.
One of our favorite scenes is when Shylock and Antonio first meet to discuss the terms of a loan. It sets up the goals and motivations for Shylock and tells us why people seem to hate him. It also provides a view of the very contrasting Antonio. Another one of our favorite scenes is when Portia and Nerissa are chewing out their husbands because they gave away their wedding rings as demanded by a judge and his clerk. It turns out that Portia and Nerissa are very involved in this test of faithfulness of their husbands. More we cannot say. (This scene could have mixed reviews, however; if Gollum were to see it, he would be unhappy with the treatment of these rings and would go back to his cave thoroughly disgusted.)
The plot of the story is that Bassanio is madly in love with the heiress Portia. In order to win her, he must participate in a contest consisting of a choice between three caskets. One will win him marriage with Portia, but choosing poorly will have negative consequences, as other suitors have already discovered. He succeeds in this trial and they become happily married. However, Bassanio lives far away from Portia and cannot pay for the journey or his expenses, so his dear friend and wealthy merchant, Antonio, agrees to help. Antonio has many active ventures and is cash-poor, so they both go to a money lender by the name of Shylock. Shylock, who strongly resents Antonio for his willingness to lend money without interest, enters into a bond that would cut off a pound of Antonio’s flesh if Antonio is not able to repay the loan. Shylock is utterly broken after a friend of Antonio’s runs off with Shylock’s daughter and the daughter runs off with a large sum of Shylock’s money. Tragedy strikes Antonio’s ventures and so Shylock, in a fit of revenge, is determined to get his flesh. Despite the bond being legal, the court settles the matter against Shylock. The judge asks for the wedding rings of Bassanio and his friend and they reluctantly give them, even though they had sworn to always keep them on. What is the unusual connection between the courts and their wives? They go home to a steamed Portia and Nerissa, but how this end up? Will the men be forever lonely because of their mistake, or will all be forgiven because of the good reason to give the rings up? Find out, in The Merchant of Venice.
The Merchant of Venice is an amazing play. You can see it in Central Park at 8 pm Thursday, July 27th through Saturday, July 29th. Don’t miss this excellent production, and don’t forget to bring your Cultural Pass!
Turtle and Moose