Image: Shakespeare's Globe
How did a company tour in Shakespeare's day?
We know that when the theatres closed, a small group of actors, juggling a variety of roles in three or four plays from their extensive repertoire, would leave London and head off on tour.
We also know that the choice of play or entertainment was left to the most powerful person of the household.
So, following in the tradition of our resident playwright, and in a first for Shakespeare's Globe, between May and September 2018 a company of eight actors will offer audiences a choice of three plays: The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night.
They will perform all three at the Globe before setting out on a national and international tour. And also in keeping with tradition - and with thrilling unpredictability - the choice of play will be put back into the hands of the most powerful members of the house: the audience.
Brendan O'Hea, director, actor, and passionate education practitioner, has previously performed in a number of productions at Shakespeare's Globe including Cymbeline (2015), Measure for Measure (2015), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2014), and Henry V (2012).
In Venice, the epicentre of consumption, speculation and debt, Bassanio borrows money from his friend Antonio to finance his attempt to win the hand of Portia, a wealthy heiress.
Antonio, in turn, takes out a loan from the moneylender Shylock.
The loan will be repaid when Antonio's ships return to the city.
But if they should fail, and the money cannot be repaid, Antonio shall give to Shylock a pound of his own flesh.
And they do fail.
And Shylock will have his 'bond'.
In some of his most highly-charged scenes, Shakespeare dramatises the competing claims of tolerance and intolerance, justice and mercy, while in the character of Shylock he created one of the most memorable outsiders in all theatre.
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London SE1 9DT
Performance days & times
Monday 14 May, 7.30pm
Wednesday 16 May, 7.30pm
Tuesday 15 May, 2.00pm
Saturday 8 September, 2.00pm
Yard (standing) £5
Gallery (seated) from £22
Luke Brady - Bassanio
Steffan Cennydd - Lorenzo / Old Gobbo / Duke
Cynthia Emeagi - Jessica / Morocco
Sarah Finigan - Shylock
Colm Gormley - Gratiano
Russell Layton - Antonio / Launcelot Gobbo / Prince of Arragon
Rhianna McGreevy - Nerissa
Jacqueline Phillps - Portia
Author: William Shakespeare
Composer: Bill Barclay
Director: Brendan O'Hea
Designer: Andrew D Edwards
Choreography: Siân Williams