The Merchant of Venice (1997)

The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare

The production ran at the Crypt Arts Centre in Dublin Castle in November 1997 and played to capacity teenage and adult audiences.

# This production fused elements of commedia dell’ arte and intense physicality in an attempt to explore:

# The colonisation tendencies of an imperial elite in relation to other classes and to outsiders

# The paralysis at the heart of a decadent, decaying aristocracy

The subjugation of male-male bonding to the economic and political requirements of male-female bonding.

It had long been our intention to explore this great play, drawn as we were by the unanswered problem which opens it “In sooth I know not why I am so sad.” Over several weeks we eeked out possible answers to this problem of Antonio’s, seeing it as an expression of ennui in a society too rich for its own good, and leading us to emphasise the themes of subjugation and colonisation in the text. This approach reaped rich rewards in our understanding of the play (seeing Portia, for example, as a woman not only dominated by the will of a dead father but excellently schooled in the same manipulative behaviour patterns herself).

It was directed by Peter Hussey, designed by Wilma Warner Ó Keeffe, with set by Hugh Mc Ginley. Cast included: Michael Byrnes, Paul Smith, Kieran Galvin, Conor Mahony, Shane Mc Grath, Kate Pierce, Pauline Clooney, David Ó Sullivan, Anne Marie Ó Sullivan, Matthew Lalor, Anna Swords-Murphy, Andrew Buchanan, Barry Mulrennan, and Antoinette Henderson-Banks.