Shiver me timbers! It has been a long and bitter winter! So what could be better than coming down to the North Crawford Playhouse for a voyage to the warm Caribbean to watch ‘The Pirate Merchant of Venice’ a comic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice,’ written by our very own Rob Ghormley and Jared Spiller.
Of course, you’ll be thinkin’, “Blast ye, not another Shakespeare piece?” But worry not, matey. Bein’ as we’re naught but humble pirates, we scuttled all them long words and superfluous scenes, and threw in lots of music and silly bits. To be sure, it’s quite yer Playhouse production with a cast of 78 swaggerin’ students, riotous brawls, Irish step dancin’, and even a black light skeleton dance to suit yer fancy! ‘Tis an adventure you’ll not want to be missin’!
Our tale begins with the villainous pirate Shylock (Tyler Steyer) and his wicked wife Leah (Elizabeth Scary-beyond-all-reason-Paczok). Bein’ crooked in the money lendin’ business, they exact terrible penalties and even murder those who fail to make their payments on time. Ah, but hark ye, matey, most fortunate it is that Antonio, the good merchant of Venice, (Jared Spiller) often gives poor wretches the swag to escape Shylock’s clutches, for the which, the Shylocks seek to send Antonio straight to Davey Jones locker. Arrrr!
’Course there be a love story too. The fair and beauteous Portia (Zoe Peters), though rich beyond measure, is trapped in hard circumstance by her dead father’s will. Her father set up a riddle of three chests: one o' silver, o’ gold, and o’ lead. Whatever wealthy suitor solves the riddle wins Portia’s hand in marriage, whether she likes him or no. Many rich and valiant suitors try their hand at the riddle; amongst them the mighty Captain Monoco (Casey Spencer) and the arrogant Prince Aragon (Kai Varnes-Epstein). But Portia has her heart set on only one man, our handsome young Bassanio (Jared Smith), an apprentice to Antonio. Now, Bassanio be hopin' to solve the riddle and win fair Portia fer himself. But one problem stands in his way. He lacks the means to appear a prince. He goes to Antonio in hopes of borrowin’ three thousand ducats. Though a crazy sum 'o ducats, Antonio be willin' to lend the swag to Bassanio interest free. Only problem is that Antonio hasn’t the ducats available because all of his money be invested in his ships out at sea. He is forced to borrow the ducats from evil Shylock. Shylock sees a way to do away with good Antonio. He offers to funds interest free, but if Antonio forfeits on the due, he agrees Shylock may cut one pound 'o flesh from Antonio’s body.
Portia’s chambermaid and confidant, Nerissa (Willa Dworshack), falls in love with Calico Jack (Ludvig Ekholm), the rum-lovin’ friend of Antonio and Bassanio. And poor dear Jessica (Jeanne Wollschlager), the daughter of Shylock and Leah, opposes her parents and their wicked ways. She falls in love with Lorenzo (Nick Gillespie), a friend of Bassanio and Antonio, her parents’ sworn enemies. The twists of fate and fortune churn up to the wildest piece of courtroom brawlin’ that ever turned a merry pirate’s tale to tickle yer fancy.
Performance dates are set for March 10, 11, and 13, 14 and 15. There be FREE ADMISSION on Monday night, March 10, to all ye fair folk that want to come see it. Make sure to buy your tickets as soon as ye may. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students. This North Crawford Playhouse production, “The Pirate Merchant of Venice,” is surely a show ye’ll not want to be missin’!