Shakespeare at Winedale's Spring Class Performs "The Merchant of Venice"
The Merchant of Venice
April 30 - May 1, 2010
Winedale Theatre Barn, Round Top, TX
Shakespeare at Winedale is part of the University of Texas English Department, designed as a hands-on way for students to study Shakespeare’s plays through performance. The spring class is a course on the University campus in which students spend class periods studying plays, exploring their challenges and working creatively to perform scenes together. The course also includes three weekends at the Winedale Historical Center, where students are surrounded by the beauty of the Texas countryside and immersed in Shakespearean language.
This year’s Shakespeare at Winedale spring class is studying conflict and belief in Shakespeare, in conjunction with the inaugural Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies. "The Merchant of Venice is ideal for exploring the themes of the Institute," says Professor James Loehlin. "It’s a play with great power to disturb and provoke, as well as to entertain." The performances of The Merchant of Venice are the conclusion of this year’s spring class. The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s darker comedies, aptly begins, “In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.” The play highlights the conflict of spiritual and material values in the cosmopolitan city of Venice. When a bond is forfeit for lack of payment, religious tensions erupt into a threat of bloody revenge. Meanwhile, three caskets and a dead father’s will determine the fate of a rich young woman and her suitors. Justice and mercy hang in the balance in a courtroom where nothing is as it seems. Light-hearted elements of song and disguise complement this provocative exploration of ethical values.