Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' to be performed Oct. 10-11

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Actors From The London Stage, one of the world’s most respected touring companies specializing in plays by William Shakespeare, will perform "The Merchant of Venice" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 10 and 11, in Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium.

Renowned British stage and screen actor Patrick Stewart founded Actors From The London Stage. The players come from prestigious companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Clever staging -- using minimal props, costumes and sets -- showcases the talents of a five-member ensemble in which each actor portrays multiple characters while keeping the focus on Shakespeare’s timeless words.

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $32 for an adult, $16 for a University Park student and $25 for a person 18 and younger. Buy tickets online at www.cpa.psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 1-800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Go to http://youtu.be/LM7ICt1rLFQ to hear a Center for the Performing Arts interview with cast member Nicola Alexis, who portrays the play’s female lead, Portia, and other characters.

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s provocative comedy, begins with Bassanio’s quest for Portia. Funded by an ill-conceived loan, the road to true love will not be smooth. When plans go awry, betrayal and anger face off against a cry for compassion and a cunning lawyer in disguise. In the end, all are left to question justice, love and the length to which we will go to fit in.

In addition to Alexis, The Merchant of Venice cast features Henry Everett, Michael Palmer, Noel White and Alinka Wright.

“When they initially present themselves to the theater, listing out each character they’ll portray, one may be dismayed, or at the very least concerned, that the next two hours will be difficult,” wrote a reviewer for AustinLiveTheatre.com. “These actors immediately overcome those misgivings, for they breathe dramatic energy into each character with such precision that not once do spectators find themselves confused.”

Actors From The London Stage is based in England with academic tours booked through the auspices of Shakespeare at Notre Dame.

WPSU is the media sponsor. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or local expert, is offered in Schwab one hour before each performance and is free for ticket holders. Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for the Oct. 11 performance at no extra charge to ticket holders.

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Last Updated September 28, 2012