Review: Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice

 The Reagan Theater Department performed their last production of the school year, William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice on April 29 and 30 and May 2 and 3 in the Black Box Theatre. The pure talent and drive that every one of the production students embodies was shown in this closing play that revolves around those students who are pursuing a career in acting.

Opening night of The Merchant of Venice on April 29th in the Black Box Theater.
Opening night of The Merchant of Venice on April 29th in the Black Box Theater. PHOTO COURTESY OF C. SPRAYBERRY

As we have seen in all the productions this year, Kristen Peeler possesses a knack for not only acting like another person, but also becoming them. As her role of Nerissa in this closing performance, Kristen shines with her witty comments and her supportive actions while comforting her best friend, Portia (played by senior Kolby Jacobs). Being a comic relief in the storyline, Kristen also adds her own flair to the character, which in the end produces a more well-rounded character. Although Shakespeare can become mundane, The Merchant of Venice has many more humorous characters that spices up the difficult language of the time period.  Sophomore Nick Hone’s character, Prince of Aragon, was the laughing-stock of the entire production. Expecting a manly and dignified prince, the audience was at shock when a feminine man with make up on, and long curled hair came out. The superb job that this underclassman has done is very exciting because, I am predicting in a couple of years you will be see him casted as the main male role in most of our productions.

Just like Nick Hone is now, that is where Senior Chase Bradshaw was two years ago. With Chase’s character Bassanio being married to Portia, Chase was conflicted with pleasing both his friend who was on trial, and his wife. Taking on the supporting actor roll, Chase was able to convey the meaning of the play subtly without being too over the top. This skill of really becoming another person is something that each of these extremely talented actors possesses.

Although the stage was very small, it created a more intimate feeling to the performance. With the set only containing a series of raised platforms, it was not at all overdone nor underdone. The more minimalistic and guileless stage did not take away from the acting, an excellent choice made by the set designer.

With equal parts of comedy and drama, The Merchant of Venice was a great note to end on this year. I am giving this play a 10 out of 10.


About Nick Hayes

Nick Hayes, alumni, was the Editor in Chief for the 2013-2014 school year. He enjoys going to concerts, record shops, and discovering new music. In the future, he would like to go into music journalism as a career.

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