The Merchant of Venice.
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Phil Grainger - BASSANIO
Will Grice - GRATIANO
Dave Jarman - LAUNCELOT
John Lister Jonathan Lewis
SHYLOCK ANTONIO - the merchant
Jonathan remembers the production
One of the main things I remember about 'The Merchant of Venice' is a coin. As Antonio, I was task with opening the play by tossing and catching a coin, a lovely image designed to emphasise the precariousness of the characters' lives- wealthy +
+his fortune on the success of merchant ships sailing away to trade in far off places, vulnerable to storms and pirates and goodness knows what else. Anyway, I could flick the coin well enough, but it really was embarrassing when I failed to catch the thing half of the time, and was so pleased when I finally did that the opening lines disappeared out of my head.
The coin toss neatly sums up the experience of doing this show in other ways, too. We were very fortunate to begin rehearsing with director Richard, who did some really valuable character work with us, but graciously made room for David Goodwin to come in and play up the comedy to great effect, creating a balance of light and shade in the piece. The biggest compliment the show received was from a couple who said they had seen a number of 'Merchants', but never felt like they caught and understood everything until this one. It's true that we were all put through our paces and really focused on clearly articulating lines and their meaning(s), which in hindsight really paid off.
OLD GOBBO LAUNCELOT
photos: Colin Richardson