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The Merchant of Venice poster

The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Peter Robel

July 25 – August 24, 2008

presented at The Heartland Studio

While generally considered a comedy, The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most grippingly dramatic plays. When Antonio defaults on a loan for his friend with romantic ambitions, the bitter lender Shylock demands a “pound of flesh” in payment. The legal crisis can only be resolved by a beautiful heroine disguised as a judge. Set against a backdrop of high stakes finance and high stakes romance, The Merchant of Venice tells the tale of long-time enemies, two opposing cultures, two beautiful women, and one pound of flesh woven into a tale of old-worn hatreds, new-found loves, long-time friendships, and family betrayals. This theatrical feast is rich with intriguing characters that show us how love and forgiveness can bridge the gaps between moral ideals and their imperfect human renderings.

The Merchant of Venice abounds in imagery that centers on deception, vice, and human weakness—and fittingly so. After all, the central characters in the drama are all deeply flawed or disturbed, exhibiting prejudice, hatred, greed, desire for revenge, depression, ignorance. In today’s climate of blurred vision between being cautious and afraid, this BoHo production of The Merchant of Venice mirrored how one reacts and responds to the misgivings (and mistreating) of others.

CastCrew
  • Solanio: Stacie Folgers
  • Portia: Christina Hall
  • Prince of Morocco, Balthazar, Duke: Adam Kander
  • Lorenzo, Launcelot: Charles Riffenburg IV
  • Gratiano, Prince of Arragon: David Roche
  • Nerissa: Justine Serino
  • Antonio: Eric Damon Smith
  • Bassanio: Ryan Swikle
  • Shylock: Fred Wellisch
  • Scenic Designer: Stephemn M. Genovese
  • Lighting/Projection Designer: R. Bradley Criswell
  • Costume Designer: Michelle Julazadeh
  • Sound Designer: Derek Dudek
  • Costume Designer: Michelle Julazadeh
  • Photography: Laura Thoma
  • Stage Manager: RoseMary Prodonovich
  • Producers: Thomas J. Samorian & Ryan Guhde

After Dark Awards

  • Outstanding Performance In a Play: Adam Kander

The Merchant of Venice Production Photos:

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Rave reviews for The Merchant of Venice:

"Robel's production manages to highlight BoHo's greatest strength ... a dewy crop of young talent." (4 Stars)
–Christopher Piatt, TimeOut Chicago

"Bohemian Theatre Ensemble delivers another fine production." (Recommended)
–Web Behrens, Chicago Free Press

"Most effectively ... Robel and company avoid the spoonful of "can't we all get along" sugar many directors tend to add." (Recommended)
–Kay Daly, Chicago Tribune

"This (is an) ultra-streamlined and fast-moving adaptation, cut to the bone by director Peter Robel." (Highly Recommended)
–Dennis Palkow, NewCity Chicago

"The BoHo production of The Merchant of Venice is an adrenaline rush." (Highly Recommended)
–Ruth Smerling, SteadStyle Chicago