Upstart Crows Present THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

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Upstart Crows Present THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Upstart Crows of Santa Fe present Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

Three casts of young Shakespeareans 10-18 perform an uncut production of this brilliant and challenging play.

The Merchant of Venice contains two intertwined plots - a love story, and a revenge tale. And yet neither is what it seems at first. Shakespeare subverts the comedic form with this story of deplorable couples and prejudiced officials in a greed-driven system. Portia, a rich heiress, is bound by her dead father to have all marriage suitors tested by choosing which of three boxes contains her portrait. Antonio, a Venetian merchant takes a loan from the Jewish moneylender Shylock to help his friend Bassanio try his luck with Portia. Bassanio is successful and Portia makes him swear his faithfulness by accepting a ring, which he promises never to lose or give away.

All of Venice is seen as antisemitic in this story, but Antonio is egregiously so, never missing an opportunity to verbally or physically abuse Shylock. When all his ships sink or go astray, Antonio is unable to repay the loan, and Shylock, whose daughter has just robbed him and run away with a Venetian Catholic, decides to hold him to his bond, which was a pound of Antonio's flesh. To save her new husband's friend, Portia dresses as a male lawyer and thwarts Shylocks claim in court, ruining him and forcing him to convert to Christianity. Antonio urges Bassanio to give the "lawyer" his ring, which he does, enabling Portia to hold this over him when they reunite. The play ends with the seemingly merry union of the less than admirable couples. The audience goes away with the distinct feeling that many things are very wrong.

The Merchant of Venice at the Swan Theater
January 17-Feb 2, Fridays and Saturdays 7 p.m. Sunday matinees 2 p.m.
Tickets $10 at the door and online at

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