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Bard's 'Merchant'
set for SHSU stage

"The quality of mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; it is twice blest: It blesses him that gives and him that takes. . ." says Portia in the Sam Houston State Department of Theatre and Dance production of "The Merchant of Venice."

One of Shakespeare's best known works opens the spring 1998 season. Directed by James R. Miller this classic comedy pits one of Shakespeare's cleverest men, Shylock, against an equally clever woman-Portia. The show runs Feb. 18 through Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. on the Mainstage at the University Theatre Center. There is also a Saturday matinee on Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.

"The Merchant of Venice" is the story of the courtship of a wealthy heiress, Portia of Belmont by Bassanio, a poor Venetian lord. Bassanio asks his friend, Antonio for a loan. Antonio is a wealthy Venetian merchant but his wealth is tied up in seagoing vessels.

So Antonio goes to moneylender Shylock for a loan. Shylock agrees to loan Antonio with the only terms of the agreement being that if the debt cannot be repaid Antonio will forfeit "a pound of his flesh" as payment.

When Antonio's vessels are lost at sea it appears as if he will have to meet the terms of the agreement with Shylock. Bassanio returns to Venice to help Antonio, but in the end it is Portia who puts everything right and shows us that mercy and justice can triumph over revenge.

The cast of "The Merchant of Venice" is composed of a broad cross-section of students from within the Department of Theatre and Dance as well as within the university.

Portia is played by senior musical theatre major, Christin Nacke; Shylock by junior theatre major Daoud Heidami; Bassanio by junior theatre major, Todd Porter; Antonio by senior music major, Scott Bonasso, and Jessica is played by junior musical theatre major, Sarah Lilley. Others in major roles are Chad Brannon, Brian Morreale, Teri O'Brien, Patrick Pearson, Adam Redmer, and Corby Sullivan.

Sets, costumes, and lights are designed by Department of Theatre and Dance faculty members. Scenic design is by Jerry S. Hooker, costumes by Kristina S. Hanssen and lights by Thomas F. Soare. Senior theatre major Danielle Borden is the stage manager.

Ticket prices are $7 for general admission and $5 with an SHSU or senior citizen I.D. Group rates are also available. All seats are reserved and no children under the age of three will be admitted. For more information call the University Theatre Center at (409) 294-1329.


Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Feb. 9, 1998

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