Los Angeles -- William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, known for such timeless iconoclastic works as "Romeo And Juliet", "Othello", "King Lear", "Macbeth" and "Hamlet" brought to life a tale of love and commerce in what was then a dominant commercial city state on the northeast end of the Italian peninsula, in the Laguna Veneta, at the west end of the Adriatic Sea, Venice. A mash up of islets and canals that begat commerce in a treasure trove of mercantile intrigue where merchants and their clientele plied their trade for monetary gain vying to capture the hefty profit margins that awaited those who were lucky to master the craft of money making. Set against this free wheeling rendition of capitalism in its purest form, is the story of a young Venetian, Bassanio and the love of his life Portia, a wealthy Venetian who has captivated his heart.
From the hometown of Marco Polo, William Shakespeare crafted a tale of romance and tragedy against the back drop of Venice's political, social and religious angst, mixed with Shakespeare's poetic trademarked verbiage and Byzantine styled plot collusion. Peter Nikkos plays Shylock, the money lender who holds the keys to either a positive or negative end to our story. So before I give it all away why don't we find out.
Opening night is tonight 3/27 and it is sold out. However it is playing also Thursday, Friday, Saturday @ 8 pm and Sunday matinee (no matinee this Sunday) 4 pm over the next three weekends.
You can purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets. Here is the the link:
Merchant of Venice Plot Summary Courtesy of No Sweat Shakespeare
"A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan of three thousand ducats so that he can woo Portia, a wealthy Venetian heiress. He approaches his friend Antonio, a merchant. Antonio is short of money because all his wealth is invested in his fleet, which is currently at sea. He goes to a Jewish money lender, Shylock, who hates Antonio because of Antonio’s anti-semitic behaviour towards him.Shylock nevertheless agrees to make the short-term loan, but, in a moment of dark humour, he makes a condition - the loan must be repaid in three months or Shylock will exact a pound of flesh from Antonio. Antonio agrees, confident that his ships will return in time.
Because of the terms of Portia’s father’s will, all suitors must choose from among three caskets, one of which contains a portrait of her. If he chooses that he may marry Portia, but if doesn’t he must vow never to marry or court another woman. The Princes of Morocco and Arragon fail the test and are rejected. As Bassanio prepares to travel to Belmont for the test, his friend Lorenzo elopes with Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. Bassanio chooses the lead casket, which contains her picture, and Portia happily agrees to marry him immediately.
Meanwhile, two of Antonio’s ships have been wrecked and Antonio’s creditors are pressurising him for repayment. Word comes to Bassanio about Antonio’s predicament, and he hurries back to Venice, leaving Portia behind. Portia follows him, accompanied by her maid, Nerissa. They are disguised as a male lawyer and his clerk. When Bassanio arrives the date for the repayment to Shylock has passed and Shylock is demanding his pound of flesh. Even when Bassanio offers much more than the amount in repayment, Shylock, now infuriated by the loss of his daughter, is intent on seeking revenge on the Christians. The Duke refuses to intervene.
Portia arrives in her disguise to defend Antonio. Given the authority of judgment by the Duke, Portia decides that Shylock can have the pound of flesh as long as he doesn’t draw blood, as it is against the law to shed a Christian’s blood. Since it is obvious that to draw a pound of flesh would kill Antonio, Shylock is denied his suit. Moreover, for conspiring to murder a Venetian citizen, Portia orders that he should forfeit all his wealth. Half is to go to Venice, and half to Antonio.
Antonio gives his half back to Shylock on the condition that Shylock bequeath it to his disinherited daughter, Jessica. Shylock must also convert to Christianity. A broken Shylock accepts. News arrives that Antonio’s remaining ships have returned safely. With the exception of Shylock, all celebrate a happy ending to the affair."
PRESS RELEASE: MERCHANT OF VENICE -- CITY SHAKES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Allison Volk
Tel: (303) 819-8691
DOWNTOWN SANTA MONICA THEATER COMPANY THROWS RED CARPET
The City Shakespeare Company celebrates the opening of ‘The Merchant of
Venice’ on March 27
! SANTA MONICA, March 12, 2014 – The City Shakespeare Company is kicking off
it’s 2014 season with a bash - literally. The Santa Monica-based theater
company is hosting a red carpet masquerade ball on opening night, Thursday,
Theater-goers will be in for an evening of Hollywood-style red carpet arrivals at 7
pm, complimentary wine, a performance of the show, with a DJ, dancing and
prizes for the best masquerade costumes to conclude the evening.
But the company, which is currently housed in an old warehouse space within
walking distance to the 3rd Street Promenade, doesn’t have any delusions
about the challenging material they are tackling. Brooke Bishop, director of the
play and City Shakes’ co-artistic director, sees value in producing this
“My intention is to have people leave the theater asking questions instead of
making judgements,” Bishop states. “If this play sparks a dialogue, if people
leave wondering not who was right and who was wrong but rather if right and
wrong even matter at all, I will be pleased, and know we've done something
Peter Nikkos, who plays the historically-charged role of Shylock, the Jew, writes,
“There is Shylock in everyman; my humble goal is to show the audience the
‘every-man’ in Shylock.”
If you go: The Merchant of Venice plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8
pm March 27 thru April 12, and Sundays April 6 and 13 at 4 pm. Location is 1454
Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Plenty of free street parking after 6pm.
Doors open at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/583598. Thursdays, April 3 and 10 are pay-what-you-can at the door. For
more information, please visit www.CityShakes.org.
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