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Evaluation of a performance of the merchant of venice

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Introduction

The Merchant of Venice By William Shakespeare William Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' was performed outstandingly on the 20th of September 2007. The play was performed at The Globe Theatre with fantastic direction from Rebecca Gatwart. The play is magnificently thrilling even for those who have not yet read the play. It is a brilliant understandable version of the play, which does not stray very far from the true script. The play is set in Venice where Bassanio seeks three thousand ducats from his close friend Antonio, which he hopes to spend on travel to Belmont to woo the beautiful, rich heiress Portia. But Antonio is not in the position to lend his money as all his merchandise it at sea. He asks the Jewish usurer Shylock for a loan despite the fact they both dislike each other. They are agreed to a bond whereby if Antonio does not repay the money within 3 months time Shylock will be free to take a pound of flesh from anywhere on Antonio's body he wishes to. Bassanio goes to Belmont where he marries Portia. Meanwhile, back in Venice, Antonio is having some problems with his boat and is unable to play Shylock back what he is owed. ...read more.

Middle

Shylock was played by John McEnery. He seemed to fit into his character naturally. There was no one part in the play where he seemed out of focus and he was always 100% in character. John McEnery was spot on with is body language. He didn't rely on the script to express his emotions and thoughts. If at any point he was told to freeze in his position, it would be clear what emotion he was expressing, however, it was not overdone. At points in the play when Shylock felt powerful, for example, when he thought he was going to be given the right to kill Antonio, he expressed the feeling of power through his body language. His head was held high and he was stood straight, it was clear that he felt he was in the right. However, at points in the play when Shylock was feeling humiliated and angry, like when he was being spat at or discriminated against as a Jew, his shoulders were hunched over in embarrassment as if he felt low, but the anger and bitterness could be seen in his face. ...read more.

Conclusion

The actors were always visible. As natural light was used to light the stage, nighttime couldn't be shown through darkness. So, at parts in the play when it was night, extra lighting was used to create the illusion. There was a street lamp by the stage, which was turned on when it was nighttime, and there were torches lit at other parts in the play. This tool was very effective as at these points it was obvious that the night was being portrayed. There were many parts of the play when live sound from a band was used to help create atmosphere or just add to the interest of the play. I think that 8 out of 10 is an accurate rating for the play. The play was brilliant but at times it lacked some flow. I think that the strongest aspect of the performance was the modernising of the humour in the play. This helped to add interest to the play for those who hadn't read the book. It also gave many a way to relate the characters of the play to people in our everyday lives. It is hard to say what the weakest component in the play was, but it was probably visibility of the actors. For a groundling, it was often hard to see all the action on the stage. ...read more.

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