Sterling College Presents "The Merchant of Venice"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sterling College will present Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 4-6, in Culbertson Auditorium on the SC campus.

“The Merchant of Venice” was written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s. Though Shakespeare called it one of his comedies, it is best known for its dramatic scenes, the complicated character of the villain Shylock and the strength of its female character Portia.

In Sterling College’s upcoming performance Antonio, the merchant of Venice, is played by sophomore Houston Smith of Kingman, Kan. Though Antonio is wealthy, he is short of ready cash to lend to his best friend Bassanio, who needs it to court Portia, a wealthy heiress. Antonio borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish money lender and Antonio’s enemy, to give to his friend. Antonio agrees with Shylock’s demand: if Antonio does not pay back the loan by a set date, he will pay with a pound of his own flesh. Bassanio, played by senior Marcus Mull of Great Bend, Kan., wins Portia's love and hand in marriage, but when Antonio's ships are all reported wrecked at sea and he cannot repay the loan, Bassanio returns to Venice to stand by his friend. Shylock, played by sophomore Michael Gordon of Wichita, Kan., takes Antonio to court to demand his pound of flesh. The trial is not going well for Antonio until Bassanio’s new wife Portia, played by senior Jennie Czuba of Longmont, Colo., disguises herself as a lawyer and travels to Venice to defend Antonio. The court scene, which is the climax of the play, displays one of Shakespeare’s strongest female characters and one of his most complex villains.

"The Merchant of Venice" also features the talents of seniors Stuart Parman, Mike Love and Sarah Kanary; juniors Mike Danski, David Ireland and Amanda Denning; sophomores Nathan West, Lauren White, Samantha Davison and Cara Spencer; and first-year students Jackie Wilkerson, Grace Grahn, Chris Latini, Mike Redondo, Ben Wright, Kaleb Knighton, Joshua Mathews, Stephen Rosendale, Victor Smith, Adam Taylor and Ollie Andrews.

Tickets are available at the door. The box office opens at 7 p.m. and doors open at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students, children, and seniors.¬¬¬¬¬