The Merchant of Venice

 

“The quality of mercy is not strained”

Fridays & Saturdays – April 5- 27 – Ticket price is $15.00

Thursdays – April 18 & 25 – Ticket price is $10.00

Box Office opens at 7pm and performance begins at 8pm

The Curtain Theater is located at:  7400 Coldwater Canyon, Austin, TX 78730

 

 

This April, we invite you to join us as The Baron’s Men present William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Richard Garriott’s Curtain Theater, the only Elizabethan style theater in Austin. In this period-themed production, we embrace and explore the dark and light of the Bard’s well-known tragicomedy, noted as much for its challenging and controversial themes as its entertaining plot and captivating, memorable characters. We approach this play as one in which there are no absolute paragons of virtue, nor are there any unqualified villains. To a varying degree, each character in Merchant demonstrates a capacity for both goodness and vice. Individuals may be prone to contradict themselves, and their actions often belie their words. They see each other through their own unique prisms, and their expressed perceptions and judgments of one another often reflect this bias. All of this makes Shakespeare’s Venice a timeless microcosm of our own world, populated with imperfect people whose natures are as changeable as quicksilver. It is with this appreciation that we undertake these idiosyncratic characters and present them to you. We hope you enjoy our efforts!

 

The Story Begins

According to her deceased father’s will, a rich and beautiful heiress, Portia, must marry the suitor who chooses the right chest among three: gold, silver, or base lead. Bassanio, a young Venetian, seeks to win her love and hand. To that end, he appeals to his dear friend, Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice, for money to fund his expedition to Portia’s home of Belmont. Antonio, his ships all at sea bearing his fortune, borrows 3,000 ducats on credit to help Bassanio achieve fair Portia. Who advances Antonio the sum? Shylock, a Jew of Venice and a successful moneylender. Marginalized and often maltreated by Venetian society, Shylock also bears Antonio a personal grudge. Shylock proposes that if Antonio forfeits the bond in three months’ time, he will take nothing more than a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Antonio agrees to this “merry bond,” and thus Shakespeare’s plot is set in motion…

Our cast is comprised of gifted, veteran Baron’s Men sharers and players, as well as several talented newcomers. It is our happy privilege to welcome them to the TBM family.

Full Cast:

The Duke of Venice- Casey Weed
The Prince of Morocco- Andreas Stein
The Prince of Aragon- Andreas Stein
Antonio, a merchant of Venice- Andy Bond
Bassanio, his friend, suitor to Portia- Bradley Wright
Gratiano, friend to Antonio and Bassanio- Robert Stevens
Salerio, friend to Antonio and Bassanio- Aaron Neimuth
Solanio, friend to Antonio and Bassanio- Michael O’Keefe
Lorenzo, in love with Jessica- Harry Conner
Shylock, a Jew of Venice- Robert Deike
Launcelot Gobbo, a clown, servant to Shylock- Eva McQuade
Old Gobbo, father to Launcelot- Gene Storie
Leonardo, servant to Bassanio- James Holder
Stephania, servant to Portia- Leanna Holmquist
Portia, an heiress- Hanna Haide
Nerissa, her waiting woman- Becky Musser
Jessica, daughter to Shylock- Rachel Steed Redig
Tubal, a wealthy Jew- Jimmie Bragdon
Jailer- Chris Casey
Magnificoes of Venice- Garrison Martt, Gene Storie, Chris Casey, Jimmie Bragdon
Prince of Aragon’s Train- Felix Ferris, Joanna Casey, Keith James
Prince of Morocco’s Train- Felix Ferris, Joanna Casey, Keith James

 

Our Production

This Italian-influenced production is led by director Christina Peppas and assistant director Laura Trezise. It features exquisite period costumes by Dawn Allee and Pam Martin. Pam and Dawn are also the play’s dynamic producers. Music is under the superb direction of Howard Burkett, and includes works by renowned composers Claudio Monteverdi and Salamone Rossi. Monteverdi, a Christian, and Rossi, a Jew, were friends and colleagues in 17th Century Italy. As our set designer, accomplished visual artist Rodrigo Barajas pays homage to Venice as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and evokes the mystery and majesty of La Serenissima (The Most Serene Republic). Props are the domain of the ever-creative and resourceful Katy Thompson. Monette Mueller is our dedicated stage manager. Liegh Hegedus skillfully coordinates our front of house. Brian Martin takes on a new role as our innovative media relations guru. Last but certainly not least, we are fortunate and grateful to have the wonderful Joe Stephenson on board as our dramaturg.

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