A Pound of Flesh and Unstrained Mercy – MERCHANT OF VENICE at Ark Shakes

AST 2015 MoVComedy and tragedy collide in this story of lovers united and families torn apart.  At the center is Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. When the Venetian merchant Antonio is forced to seek a loan from Shylock, a man he despises for his religion and profession, he is asked to enter into an impossible contract: he must give a pound of flesh if unable to pay back the borrowed sum. What follows is a complex and challenging exploration of love, mercy, integrity, and justice that reminds us that, “all that glisters is not gold.”

The Merchant of Venice continues the 2015 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  Performances are at 7:30 tonight, Saturday, June 20 and Tuesday, June 23.  Matinees are at 2pm on June 20, June 27 and June 28.  All performances take place in the Reynolds Theatre on the UCA campus.

The cast is led by Chad Bradford, Peter Kevoian, Paul Kiernan and Jocelyn Vammer.  Others in the cast are Jordy Neill, Taylor Galloway, Jeff Gonzalez, Hannah Moulder, Ferginho Philippe-Auguste, Hunter Ringsmith, Matthew Schmidli, Tanner Berry, Mattie Bogoslavsky, Mark Fox and Harrison Trigg.  Members of the Youth Ensemble are Anna Caroline Greg, Ethan Marotte and Olivia Marotte.

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA continues at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

PrintSet in Italy in the early 1960s, this lively production will bring music and romance to one of Shakespeare’s rarely-produced comedies. Two Gents has all the familiar Shakespearean surprises we love:  a crossdressing heroine, fickle young lovers, and a dangerous escape into the forest.  Add to that hilarious comedy from two clownish servants, along with Shakespeare’s most famous dog, and you know this is a must see! AST Artistic Director Rebekah Scallet directs this delightful exploration of lasting love and true friendship.

The cast includes Jordan Coughtry, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Caroline Brooks, Paige Martin Reynolds, Jordy Neill, Andrew Martin, Laurie Pascale, Jesica Dean Turner, Robert Gerard Anderson, Kevin Browne, Christ Fritzges, Jordan N. Breckenridge, Salem Anderson, Zeke Whisenhunt, Anna Caroline Gregg, Mary Dean Johnston and Olivia Marotte.

The production has played several performances at the Hendrix Village.  Starting tonight, it is performed by the Argenta Library. Performances are tonight, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is “pay what you can.”