Department of Theatre Arts Presents “The Merchant of Venice”

April 15, 2013 by University of La Verne

Questions and issues of love, betrayal, justice and mercy are explored in William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, the latest production to be presented by University of La Verne’s Department of Theatre Arts.

“The performance of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ on Saturday, April 27, at University of LaVerne was not only the best student production of Shakespeare I have ever seen, it was also considerably better–and I’m not kidding–than a Royal Shakespeare Company performance I witnessed in England back in 1993. The La Verne actors knew and understood their lines better, the comedy was broader and more joyfully boisterous, and the director and dramaturge delivered a ‘reading’ that was far more deft and, at times, moving than the English production,” Eric Mallin, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Texas at Austin said. ”I thought the displacement of the tragic elements of the play from Shylock to his daughter, Jessica, was a striking solution to the mixed-genre elements of the play; in particular, the Hebrew prayer of parting or departure that father and daughter sing together, and which the daughter sings alone on stage at the end, was a remarkable reading of her plight. It was a beautiful, polished, and highly intelligent production, and I have nothing but the warmest praise for all involved.”

Considered one of Shakespeare’s controversial plays, “The Merchant of Venice” is a complicated, dark comedy – a play of questions – that causes the audience to think.

This production is directed by Professor of Theatre Arts Dr. David Flaten, and is the senior thesis project for Stephanie Aguilar, who portrays Portia, and Alvario Renteria, who portrays Shylock.

“‘Merchant of Venice in Dailey Theatre tonight, Saturday, and Sunday is the best student Shakespeare production that you will ever see,” Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Al Clark said. “It is also David Flaten’s best directorial effort; every student actor is magnificent and thoroughly believable.  It is hard for a college student to act convincingly as a much older person, but La Verne’s Shylock, (Alvaro Renteria) succeeds. Stephanie Aguilar, also in her senior thesis performance, plays the strongest Portia that I have ever seen. Even the most despicable part of the play–the antisemitism–is muted, as Dr. Mallin points out, by the singing of the Hebrew prayer.  You will remember this production for the rest of your life.”

When: Friday- Saturday May 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.
A closing matinee will take place Sunday May 5th at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Dailey Theatre, located on the University of La Verne’s main campus.

Details: Ticket prices are $10 for general admission, $8 for faculty/staff, and $5 for students.

Directions to the campus and parking information are available on the web at www.laverne.edu. Reservations and more information on this and future La Verne Theatre productions are available by calling (909) 593-3511 ext. 4386 or by visiting www.laverne.edu/theatre.

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