The Merchant of Venice is classified as an early Shakespearean comedy, more specifically, as a “Christian comedy” and it is a work in which good triumphs over evil.
For Grade XI – Science and Commerce, the new academic year began by performing this most appreciated and loved play of William Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice. It was a great learning experience for all the students of Grade XI. Right from the time the play was introduced, read, analysed and understood there was no end to their excitement. Each and every student of XI – Science and Commerce appealed to let them stage the play.
Everything was professionally planned and the work began. They named themselves professionally as “All-Star Production”. The Directors, Co-directors, Editors, Costume Designers, and Music Director were appointed. Then started the audition for the casts of the play. After taking the audition the following were selected as the casts of the play:
Antonio – Kishan Viradia
Bassanio – Bhadra N. Parikh
Portia – Atmiya K. Patel
Shylock – Jay Tailor
Gratiano – Siddharth Shah
Lorenzo – Sarveshwar Viroja
Nerissa – Roneet Chaudhary
Jessica – Kishan A. Patel
The Prince of Morroco – Anand V. Patel
Tubal – Harsh Patel
Salarion & Saliano – Hitesh Yadav & Mitul Patel
Servants – Ashish Pandey & Dipen Reshamwala
Dukes of Venice – Sarthak Jariwala, Karan Patel, Mihirbhai
Lawyer – Rushi Patel
Doctor Balthasar – Atmiya K. Patel
Director – Sarthak Jariwala
Co-Director – Kishan A. Patel
Narrator – Mantavya Patel
Music Director – Abhishek Rathore
Costume Designers – Robin Patel & Suharadam Nayak Sir
Property Managers – Krunal Vakil, Gavravbhai, Atmiya Kalavadia, Robin Patel, Ravi Patel
Students learnt many things apart from relishing the Shakespearean English. For example,
1. Friendship requires sacrifice. Antonio risks his fortune–and later his life–to help Bassanio win Portia.
2. Appearances are deceiving. Neither the gold nor the silver casket contains the key to winning Portia. Instead, it is the plain lead casket. Shakespeare expresses this theme–appearances are deceiving–in a message inside the golden casket. It says, “All that glisters [glitters] is not gold”.
3. Revenge ultimately destroys its perpetrator. Shylock seeks revenge against his enemies, but it is he who suffers the downfall after Christians unite to trick him. Perhaps he would have had more success if he had pursued justice instead of revenge.
4. Jews suffer bigotry and other forms of mistreatment because of their religion and race. Christians alienate Shylock simply because he is a Jew. In ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, Jews almost always encountered prejudice from non-Jews around them. (Helped in enhancing students’ knowledge of the rivalry between the Jews and the Christian)
5. Women can be just as competent as men, maybe even more so. Portia, disguised as a man, speaks eloquently in defense of Antonio and persuades the Duke of Venice to rule in Antonio’s favor.
Moreover, they learnt that the real evil in The Merchant of Venice was the corrupt value system of the principal Christian characters who are, of course, representative of people in Shakespeare’s time.
After all the learning, analysis, preparation and rehearsal, the play was professionally staged on 27th July, 2010 in the Auditorium of the school in front of the students of Grade VIII, IX & X and all the Teachers, the Principal, the Housemasters and the Hostel In-charges.
The best thing about performing “The Merchant of Venice” was that each and every student of Grade XI participated wholeheartedly in one or the other roles. They enjoyed every moment of it right from the introduction of the play till its final performance on the stage.
Hopefully, everybody enjoyed the play to their heart’s content.
Written by: Paras Sir