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I have seen a least a half dozen productions of Merchant, but only one (by the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington directed by Michael Kahn) focuses on the irony of these lines: Every one of the romances mentioned has a tragic ending! In Kahn's production, it is clear by the end that Lorenzo was really interested only in the money.


"The Merchant of Venice," like "Measure for Measure" is one of those truly weird Shakespeare plays that are hard to assess. Is it one of the Shakespearean greats or just a fucking, confused mess? Or both?

Personal plug: At 13 years old back in the 1960s, I played Stefano in Santa Barbara's outdoor Youth Theatre (run by a bunch of Hollywood pedophiles) production of "Merchant of Venice." Stefano has exactly two lines, both of which I've forgotten, except that one of them started with "Stefano is my name and..." The person I was addressing was a very nasty young actor named Timothy Bottoms who went on to some fame. Also in the cast was his very sweet brother Joseph who became a soap opera star and who now has an art gallery in El Paseo in Santa Barbara.

It was lovely to read the Shakespeare and hear the sensuality of your intent.

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