Hampshire Shakespeare Company's The Merchant of Venice
By Stacy Ashley
For those who have not been to a production 'under the stars' by the Hampshire Shakespeare Company,
you are truly missing out on one of the areas best theatrical experiences. For the closing
performance of The Merchant of Venice, the distant mountain views and evening sky provided a
The stage itself was simple, but more than functional to guide us through a story of commerce,
conflicting religious beliefs and love- love of another person, love of money and love of revenge.
Directed by Lucinda Kidder, this production showcased many talented actors. In her debut
performance with HSC, Susan Boyle Dziura shined as Portia. Her stage presence and energy had
that natural quality and special something other actors can only hope for. Her comedic timing
was impeccable. Steve Henderson, known for his comedy, did not disappoint as Launcelot. He
repeatedly had the audience captivated and engaged. HSC veteran and WFCR radio host,
Walter Carroll, played the anguished Shylock. Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, was skillfully
played by William Lamouthe. Other notable performances include Steve Angel as Gratiano, David
Williams as Bassanio and Macklen Makhloghi as Lorenzo.
To perform The Merchant of Venice, the company demonstrated enthusiasm, responsibility and
guts. It takes guts to put on this particular piece of Shakespeare with its anti-Semitic theme.
However, the company took responsibility by inviting us to rediscover the careful balance of human
and spiritual values with that of financial prosperity, or 'mercantilism'. The company also presented
a symposium entitled, Before and After the Holocaust: Issues in Staging Shakespeare's Shylock.
This was done in conjunction with the Center for Renaissance Studies of Massachusetts.
The Hampshire Shakespeare Company will next perform Hamlet with previews beginning July 14 and
running until July 25. For tickets, please call 413-788-4750.