By Sabrina Khan
The Merchant of Venice, starring theatre and film great Al Pacino, is now gracing Broadway.
In the story known to many of us from English class in high school, greedy moneylender Shylock loans 3000 ducats to Antonio, a struggling merchant. The merchant takes the loan to help his dear friend Bassanio secure the hand of the woman he loves, the wealthy and beautiful Portia. But Antonio does so at a life-threatening price: Shylock’s bond states that if he fails to return his loan, he must repay it in a pound of his flesh.
Several other characters bicker and fall in love, but Antonio and Shylock’s conflict takes center stage. The ire and enmity between Shylock, “the Jew,” and Antonio, the anti-Semetic Chrisitian, drives this play and keeps it fresh and compelling.
In nearly three hours, William Shakespeare’s classic is on display in raw form. The set consists of a metallic structure that rotates to switch from scenes in different locations. The actors portray the Elizabethan era in their charming period piece costumes and, of course, Shakespearean rhetoric. The language of the poet and playwright roll easily off the tongues of the actors.
TICKETS: Thru January 9th • $31.50 student rush • Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 45th St. www.merchantonbroadway.com