The Merchant of Venice: Risky Business

January 27, 2015 by

In honour of the infamous loan taken out by The Merchant of Venice’s titular character, who wagers a pound of his own flesh if he fails to repay the loan, we asked our cast to reveal the greatest amount that they have ever won or lost in a bet. Here’s what they said:

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Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio) and Scott Handy (Antonio) in The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“Won £400. First time in a casino. Not returned since.”
– Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio)

“A full-body sensual massage.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

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The Merchant of Venice: In Conversation with Rupert Goold and Ian McDiarmid

January 27, 2015 by

Reunited after an initial collaboration six years ago, the Almeida’s current and former Artistic Director discuss the complexities of Shakespeare and the charms of a certain North London stage.

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Director Rupert Goold and Ian McDiarmid (Shylock) in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Almeida Theatre: This isn’t the first time you two have worked together. Can you talk a little about your history?

Rupert Goold: We did Six Characters in Search of an Author together in 2008.

Ian McDiarmid: It was at the Minerva in Chichester, then moved to the West End, then Australia. It was adapted by Rupert and Ben Power – “adapted” isn’t the word. “Blown apart and reconstructed.” Lovingly. It was very exciting to do.

AT: So how did working on Merchant together come about?

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The Merchant of Venice: Prized Possessions

January 20, 2015 by

The Merchant of Venice looks at what we value most, so we asked our cast what their most valuable possessions are. Here’s what they said: 

Scott Handy (Antonio) in The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Scott Handy (Antonio) in The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“A soprano saxophone.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

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The Fever: The Trials and Triumphs of Site-Specific Theatre

January 15, 2015 by
Robert Icke and Tobias Menzies in rehearsals for The Fever. Photo: Perou

Robert Icke and Tobias Menzies in rehearsals for The Fever. Photo: Perou

Performances of The Fever are now in full swing at The May Fair Hotel. In her final reflections on the rehearsal process, Assistant Director Rebecca Hill addresses the particular challenges and joys of staging site-specific work.
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The Fever: A Man Walks into a Hotel Room

January 6, 2015 by
The full script of The Fever on the wall of the Almeida Theatre's rehearsal room. Photo: Simone Finney

The full script of The Fever on the wall of the Almeida Theatre’s rehearsal room. Photo: Simone Finney

Actor Tobias Menzies and director Robert Icke are in their final days of rehearsals for Wallace Shawn’s The Fever at The May Fair Hotel. Assistant Director Rebecca Hill lets us in on what it’s like to rehearse a show with a single performer.

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The Merchant of Venice: Did You Know…?

December 15, 2014 by
MOV 364 - Merry Holden, Emily Plumtree and Rebecca Brewer and Susannah Fielding by Ellie Kurttz

Merry Holden (Conscience), Emily Plumtree (Nerissa) and Rebecca Brewer (Stephanie) in The Merchant of Venice. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

In preparation for Press Night, we’re brushing up on our Shakespearean trivia. Associate Director Lisa Blair has kindly collected some facts for you to impress your theatre-going companions with. In no particular order, here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about The Merchant of Venice:
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The Fever: Two Turtle Doves and Volume 1 of ‘Capital’ by Karl Marx

December 11, 2014 by
Volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx. Photo: Rebecca Hill

Volume 1 of Capital by Karl Marx. Photo: Rebecca Hill

Now that rehearsals for Wallace Shawn’s The Fever, directed by Robert Icke, have officially begun, Assistant Director Rebecca Hill lets us in on why she’s spent the past month reading up on economic theory.

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The Merchant of Venice: Cast of Characters

December 5, 2014 by

Is Portia‘s suitor Bassiano or Gratiano? How do you tell Salerio from Solanio? We’ve enlisted some of the cast of The Merchant of Venice, who have helpfully described their characters in just three (occasionally four) words:

Tom Weston-Jones and Scott Handy by Ellie Kurttz

Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio) and Scott Handy (Antonio) in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“Narcissistic. Passionate. Social.”
Tom Weston-Jones (Bassanio)

“Disconnected, lonely, romantic.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

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The Merchant of Venice: First Impressions

December 4, 2014 by

The Merchant of Venice is known as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays.” Though it takes the form of a comedy, its darker thematic elements have troubled audiences for centuries. At the start of rehearsals, we asked the cast about their previous experience with and first impressions of the play:

Vinta Morgan and Scott Handy in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Vinta Morgan (Prince of Morocco) and Scott Handy (Antonio) in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

“I played Bassanio at the RSC and Lorenzo in a TV version. My first response? Oh God, not Antonio – he’s impossible to play.”
Scott Handy (Antonio)

“A good discourse on prejudice and racism.”
- Vinta Morgan (Prince of Morocco)

“I was in this production three years ago in Stratford. I wasn’t too familiar with the play when we started – now I can’t imagine it in any other setting!”
Emily Plumtree (Nerissa)

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The Merchant of Venice: Restaging a Classic

December 2, 2014 by
The cast of The Merchant of Venice in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

The cast of The Merchant of Venice in rehearsals. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Rehearsals are in full swing for Rupert Goold’s production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This production was first staged with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011; three years later, the production is just days away from being restaged it in London. Associate Director Lisa Blair fills us in on what it’s like to remount a production in a new location.
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