Thursday, May 3, 2012

Not Really the Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice could very much hold its own in a fight to be my favorite play, although it would be up against the likes of Henry V, Hamlet, Much Ado, and Pericles so it'd be a great fight. This love for Merchant is due in large part to the first time I saw it performed, because I was lucky enough to have the chance to see it at the Globe Theatre in London. Nothing beats standing right up against the stage as a groundling while Jessica, Portia, Nerissa, the-guy-with-an-Italian-name-I-can-never-remeber-cause-he-was-played-by-an-actor-that-looked-just-like-Wash, and Bassanio all fall in love, exchange posie rings, put on disguises, and use their wits to save the day. Walking back along the Thames to our hotel I was nearly running from giddiness and very much in love.
Source: via Megan on Pinterest
Globe Theatre with its floor of heaven thick inlaid with patens of bright gold

So I love the Merchant of Venice. A lot. And I realize that there most likely won't be another production
that I enjoy as much. Even the Shakespeare Theatre's performance of it set in the 1920s New York couldn't honestly hold a candle to it. I still keep going to The Merchant of Venice and almost hoping that it will be as good at the Globe. When my brother and I were in Galway before we went to a play version of the Sixth Sense which was put on in the little black box space at the Town Hall Theatre, it was really well done so I've been watching to see what they put on while I'm here. I saw this blurb about their production of Merchant of Venice and was really excited:
The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre was the most romantic wonderful play ever. And even darker/odder productions of Merchant in DC or as a movie have still been pretty good. This was not that play. I figured modern English would be different words, but instead this was also an entirely different plot, characters, and pretty much everything. There were pink knickers and a bank robbery central to the story. It was not ok. On top of the fact the Merchant of Venice was not, you know, the Merchant of Venice it was not a well done performance either. Star and I left the show with a renewed appreciation of well done high school plays. And a strong desire to go read some real Shakespeare to cleanse my poor mind. The "re-imagined and progressive adaptation" was something similar to what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is to Hamlet. Except that while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wander through the unseen side of the bit plot scenes and interact with all the major characters, in this play Portia, Jessica, and some new guy named Will wandered off into scenes about pink knickers stolen for the French or some such story and characters like Sherlock never even showed up. But hey, there was a funny scene involving a cute Irishmen and a monkey puppet so what more do you need?


  1. Was it funny? Because R&R are Dead is pretty funny.

  2. well... I think it was suppose to be...maybe? Nowhere near as funny as R&G aer Dead