A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance, 1970–1990 pp 1033-1070 | Cite as
The Merchant of Venice
Seeing the Lakewood production… was like meeting the play again for the first time and discovering again how wonderful its poetry is and how interesting its characterizations and plotting are… Durward McDonald brought a convincing dignity and credibility to the difficult role of Antonio. Robert Denison captured well the nobility and weakness of the fortune-hunting Bassanio. In contrast to Anne Draper, who made Jessica conventionally sweet, Kate Weber made Portia very sturdy, brisk, confident and businesslike, almost a bit worldly wise and weary; Although this characterization sometimes lacked the whimsy which Portias lines demand, it nicely linked the romanticism of her role at Belmont and the shrewd efficiency with which she entraps Shylock and play’s her little joke on Bassanio—one that humbles his masculine pride. Miss Weber’s portrayal also tempted one to think of Portias victory over these men as a kind of revenge for the terms of her father’s wilL Perhaps the Women’s Liberation Movement did start in Belmont after all… [Robert Allman] made Shylock completely sympathetic but did not romantically exaggerate the pathos of Shylock’s “tragedy” He conveyed very well Shylock’s intelligence and patience, his well-founded suspicion and hatred of the profligate Christina. What he failed to convey was the comedy of Shylock’s outrage, the depths of his bitterness, and the way in which he half-accidentally slips into an inhuman scheme of revenge and then becomes monumental in demanding his pound of flesh… Perhaps the most delightful single moment… was Kermit Browns brief appearance as the Prince of Morocco in the first Casket scene. Without hamming a word or gesture, he conveyed through his walk, his speech, is wave of hand, his look, and his reading of the message in the casket the ineffable comedy of his role.
KeywordsOpening Date Happy Ending Tragic Hero Romantic Comedy Blue Curtain
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