Tuesday, May 15, 2007

RE4: The Tragedy of Shylock, Merchant of Venice

Actually, the Olivier Merchant of Venice I saw so long ago was not the film, but a live performance in Regent's Park. All I recall about that production was the final catching of one anothers' eyes by Jessica and Antonio at the play's end AND my sense that Olivier spoke unclearly and excessively rapidly ("rapidamente" in Italian, according to my Learn-Italian-in-your-Car tapes) in most of the speeches that might be used to show Shylock as vicious. The above-mentioned glance was as good play-ender for me because there IS the question of how Antonio will BE after the story his initial melancholy engendered is finished.

My feeling is not a hell of a lot happier – even though, conventionally, melancholy is the stuff of the scholars and aristocrats who have time for such indulgences – all of which adds to Gilbert's notion that there are comedic aspects to the business-world part of the play's plotting. A businessman suffering from melancholy?!?

Aw, come on now.

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