All that glisters is not gold
This summer sees the return of one of Shakespeare's most memorable characters, the embittered money lender Shylock. A searing portrait of intolerance and the lure of money, it might surprise you to learn that it is in fact noted as a comedy in the First Folio!
Love is blind, the story of the Merchant of Venice
When the wealthy heiress Portia is faced with a multitude of suitors, she sets them a challenge in order to find the most worthy. Of course, being Venice, the subject of money is always an issue, so friends Bassanio and Antonio must find money to fund their challenge; Bassanio borrows money from Antonio, but Antonio must approach the distrusted moneylender Shylock. Their agreement is that Antonio will repay the debt upon the safe return of his ships to the city; if they are lost, then Shylock must have a pound of flesh (the origin of the term).
The ships inevitably sink, and Antonio finds himself in an awful predicament, and must somehow stave off Shylock's demands. But why is Shylock so determined to punish them? Religious intolerance towards Jews, civil society and forgiveness form the backbone themes of this charged story, with Shakespeare creating one of his most iconic, oft-misunderstood characters for the world to see.
Thy frank election make
In 2018, the Globe are exploring how theatre worked in Shakespeare's day. Along side Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew, the Merchant of Venice will be one of the repertoire offered up by 8 actors as they tour the country. At each performance, the audience will be able to vote on what show they'd like to see that night. Prior to the planned tour, you'll be able to catch them individually at the Globe or take a gamble with Voter's Choice on May 18th!