Merchant of Venice at the RBG all this week and next: Hear what Shylock had to say about the money he had loaned.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 22, 2017


After publishing this piece we got a note advising us that “we are nearing capacity… word of mouth effect is fierce with this run.”

This is the time of year to get out and enjoy the weather – and if you have room in your life for some classical theatre – check out Trevor Copp’s Tottering Biped production of the Merchant of Venice at the RBG Rock Garden.

A fine cast with some superb performances.

Harrington +

Michael Hannigan, on the right, as Antonio

Michael Hannigan has trod the boards of many of stages in the province. He is part of the opening scene in the Merchant where he gives the audience one of the most welcoming smiles you are likely to see.

Theatre is a sheer love choice and guilty pleasure for Hannigan; he has served as an Associate Artistic Director for both the Tivoli and Citadel theatres, helming several productions for each; as well as for The Players Guild, DLT, Theatre Burlington, Shooting Star Productions, and others in the GTHA.

Merchant - Antonio

Michael Hannigan preparing to give that “pound of flesh”

As impressive as his past performances have been his Antonio in the Merchant just has to be seen to fully appreciate what one man on a stage can do with a smile and a couple of words.

Chris Reid, a school teacher when he is not on stage, plays Shylock, needs a close listen to fully understand how he views the money he has loaned.

Alma Sarai who plays Portia beautifully – her coyness in determining just who her husband is going to be will delight you – almost as much as Claudio Spadafora’s performance where she introduces the various courtesans.

Alma + Jamie - night

Jamie Kasiama and Alma Sarai

Sarai could have been a little stronger as the lawyer who interprets the law that applies to the Shylock loan. The phrase “a pound of flesh” that has become part of our everyday language, turns out to be exactly that – and nothing more which saves Antonio some pain and ends of requiring Shylock to become a Christian – such is the beauty of what William Shakespeare has given us.

It is a cast of nine that is well worth watching. The choreography is as good as it gets – better than some of the stage movements at Stratford and Shaw.

Merchant - Trevor - thought

Trevor Copp during a rehearsal.

Trevor Copp’s life as a dancer comes through again and again as he directs the movement of his cast on a stage where a tree serves as a backdrop that has different coloured lights splashed on the thick branches and change the mood of the play in an instant.

Tree becomes the canvas - colour

Trees become part of the backdrop for outdoor theatre.

Performed on a stage set out on the grass where the fire flies fit in rather nicely. The sound of a freight train in the background doesn’t detract from the antics of the of the courtiers seeking the hand of Portia.

Zach Parson plays Bassanio and did some of the composing.

Jesse Horvath plays three role: Lancelot, Tubal and Salerio as well as working as director of Development.

Jamie (Milay) Kasiama plays Nerissa opposite Alma Sarai where she is superb in her attempts to direct Portia and her choice of a husband.

Copp wanted the cast members to be paid for the work they do – each gets a stipend of $100 for each day. Some support from the federal government summer employment program has helped but private sponsorship is always going to be needed.

Ticket prices are very affordable. Arrive early – seats are on a first come first served basis.

Play dates are Monday to Friday @7 pm. Plenty of parking across the road

Last performance is September 2nd.

Merchant full cast

The cast: In no particular order: Chris Reid/Shylock; Michael Hannigan/Antonio, Alma Sarai/Portia, Shawn Coelho-DeSouza/Prince of Morocco and Lorenzo, Claudia Spadafora/Jessica, Isabel Starks/Ensemble, Jamie Kasiama/Nerissa, Zach Parsons/Bassanio and Jesse Horvath/Launcelot

Treat yourself to a fun performance and some impressive choreography and Hannigan’s smile.

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1 comment to Merchant of Venice at the RBG all this week and next: Hear what Shylock had to say about the money he had loaned.

  • Michael Christmas

    Went to see the show twice, thoroughly enjoyed it both times! Great backdrop, beautiful weather, iffy one night, but nobody panicked. very professional. Can’t wait for next year!