Buy Tickets From the 2011-2012 Season: January Repertory: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & The Merchant of Venice Playing January 05, 2012 to January 29, 2012
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Directed by Andrew Houchins
Performances Jan 14, 15, 19, 20, 28, 29
Audiences just can’t get enough of this fairy-filled romp through the woods! With the comedic stylings of some of ASC’s best clowning actors, this production is sure to please children of all ages.
A part of The Shakespeare Evolution Series!
The Merchant of Venice
Directed by Artistic Director Jeff Watkins
Performances Jan 12, 13, 21, 22, 26, 27
A lost fortune, a lover's choice and one of the most powerful expressions of "the quality of mercy" in literature: meet Portia, Bassanio and Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and one of Shakespeare’s most controversial characters of all time. A suspenseful comedy with a tragic core that has intrigued audiences for centuries.
A part of The Shakespeare Evolution Series!
Midsummer Q&A: Sunday Jan 15 after the show.
Merchant Q&A: Sunday Jan 22 after the show.
Read the Plot Synopsis
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Synopsis
-from The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare’s Plays by J.C. Trewin
While Theseus, Duke of Athens, and the Amazon Queen Hippolyta, who he has defeated in battle, are contemplating their marriage, Theseus has to judge a matrimonial dispute. Egeus wishes his daughter Hermia to wed Demetrius when her heart is set upon Lysander. Though warned of the consequences if she disobeys, Hermia resolves to elope and on the next night to meet Lysander in a wood close to Athens. They tell Helena who is herself in love with Demetrius and who promptly reveals the plan to him.
In the wood the goblin Puck and one of the Fairy Queen’s train talk of the quarrel between Oberon and Titania over the changeling boy she has adopted and he desires for a henchman. She refuses to yield, whereupon Oberon orders Puck to fetch a flower whose juice, squeezed on Titania’s sleeping eyelids, will cause her on awakening to love the first live creature that she sees. Helena has followed Demetrius to the wood; Oberon, invisible and sympathetic, orders Puck to squeeze the flower on the lids of the “Athenian youth”, while he himself anoints Titania. But Puck, mistaking, chooses Lysander, who when he wakes immediately pursues Helena.
Puck mischievously gives an ass’s head to Bottom, the weaver, one of the group of “mechanicals” rehearsing a play for the wedding of Theseus. Titania, waking falls in love with Bottom. Presently confusion is worse than ever because Demetrius (who has now been anointed) and Lysander fight over Helena, to Hermia’s distress. The only thing to do is to get the lovers to sleep and to restore Lysander’s sight before he wakes.
Oberon releases Titania; Puck removes the ass’s head, and one quarrel is settled as Fairy King and Queen leave before dawn. Theseus and Hippolyta, hunting early, rouse the lovers who, back as they were, are assured by Theseus that they shall be wedded that day. Bottom, baffled by his apparent dream, goes off to find his fellows.
They perform, in all sincerity, their interlude of Pyramus and Thisby before the amused court audience. Midnight sounds. When all have retired the fairies return to give their blessing to house and lovers, and Puck says the final word.
The Merchant of Venice
Synopsis by Laura Cole, Director of Education and Training
Antonio, a merchant in Venice is melancholy and will not admit to his friends Solanio and Salarino why this is. They speculate about his reasons, the main one being that all his money is currently tied up in overseas ventures or perhaps he is in love? Antonio denies both reasons. Bassanio, Lorenzo and Gratiano, young men of Venice enter at this point and Solanio and Salarino quickly (and somewhat strangely) make their exit.
Bassanio is a good friend of Antonio’s and confesses a secret. He is in love with Portia, and tells Antonio “In Belmont is a Lady richly left.” Bassanio is not very rich and seeks a loan from Antonio that he might travel in style to Belmont and win fair Portia. Unfortunately, all Antonio’s money is tied up in his ships and he cannot lend any more to Bassanio. He proposes that Bassanio “enquire where money is” further and Antonio will guarantee any loan Bassanio can find.
Portia, meanwhile, is recounting the idiots she is forced to entertain when they come to court her for her hand in marriage. Her father left her all his money when he died, but he also left the instruction that any man that wishes to marry Portia must first choose from three small caskets, one made of lead, one of silver and one of gold. Portia wishes that Bassanio, whom she has met briefly, would come and choose.
Bassanio, meanwhile, has met with Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in Venice, who has agreed to loan 3000 ducats, for three months, with a guarantee from Antonio. Shylock is a bit doubtful that this is good business, as all of Antonio’s money is tied up in his ships, but agrees to talk to Antonio first. Antonio shows up, and Shylock tells us in an aside, that he hates Antonio because of Antonio’s very disrespectful treatment of him, and his practice of loaning money to people at no interest, which damages Shylock’s business of loaning money with interest, known as usury in Elizabethan England. Rest assured, there is no love lost between the two men, and it appears to be quite personal on both their parts.
Shylock eventually agrees to loan the money at no interest if for “merrie sport” Antonio will instead guarantee the loan by forfeit of a pound of his own flesh, if he cannot repay the loan in time. The two men agree, although Bassanio expresses some misgivings. They go off to have the business transaction recorded.
Portia is entertaining the Prince of Morocco, who has come to try his luck at the casket game.
Launcelet Gobbo, servant to Shylock, is trying to get another job. He meets up with his old, blind father, and gets Dad to intercede on his behalf with Bassanio. Bassanio hires him on the spot. Bassanio and his friend Gratiano, who will travel to Belmont with him, go off to party the night before they plan on leaving.
Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, has been secretly plotting to leave her father and elope with Lorenzo, a Christian man. She is unhappy in her father’s house and hopes to convert after marrying Lorenzo. She steals money and jewelry from her father and escapes with Launcelet’s help.
Portia, meanwhile, has shown Morocco the three caskets. The Prince picks the gold casket but he picks wrong and leaves, much distressed. The Prince of Aragon, who shows up next, picks the silver (wrong, again!) casket.
Shylock discovers his daughter’s betrayal, and confronts Solanio and Salarino, who taunt him for his losses. Tubal tells him that Antonio has lost his ship and Shylock derives some comfort from that bit of good news.
Bassanio has arrived, to court Portia, and everyone is on pins and needles, hoping he will choose the correct casket. He does (hint: it’s the lead one) and Portia gladly marries him. Gratiano has fallen in love with Nerissa and gladly marries her. Salerio arrives at that moment, with Jessica and Lorenzo in tow, to deliver the bad news from Venice. Portia sends Bassanio with double and triple the amount of the loan, to help her husband’s dear friend out. After they leave, Portia determines to disguise as a boy and follow her new husband back to Venice, as a joke. She leaves Jessica and Lorenzo in charge of her estate while she and Nerissa are gone.
The Duke of Venice has been asked to preside over the forfeiture of Antonio’s bond to Shylock. He asks Shylock to be merciful and have pity on Antonio. Shylock will not and demands his payment. The Duke is troubled deeply and has sent to a wise Doctor of Law named Bellario, for advice.
In walk Portia and Nerissa, disguised as a young male lawyer “Balthazar” and his clerk. Balthazar asks Shylock to be merciful and explains that “Though Justice be thy plea, consider this, That in the course of Justice, none of us should see salvation.” Shylock wants justice, not the repayment of the loan, and since “there is no power in Venice can alter a decree established” he, by law, can have his pound of flesh. As Shylock prepares to take his lawful due, Balthazar warns him that by law he can take no more or less that an exact pound of flesh, nor can he have any blood. If he takes anything else, his lands and goods are confiscate. Shylock cannot do this and asks for his principle, instead. Balthazar will not agree to this, since he already refused it once in open court. In fact, he will not let Shylock go at all, until all his goods, lands and money are turned over to Antonio and the Duke, partly in trust for his new son-in-law and daughter. Before Shylock can leave, Antonio is allowed to decree two things: the return of half his goods, but also, that Shylock give up his religion and convert to Christianity.
Portia, still disguised as the lawyer, asks Bassanio for the ring she had given her new husband, as payment for a job well done. At first he refuses to hand it over but Antonio eventually changes his mind. When everyone gets back to Belmont, much gaiety ensues as Portia and Nerissa tease their seemingly faithless husbands. All is revealed in the end and everyone happily reconciles.
Merchant: Act One: 75 / Act Two: 75 Midsummer: Act One: 60 / Act Two: 70
Duke of Venice - Drew Reeves*
Portia - Amee Vyas*
Nerissa - Eliana Marianes
Prince of Morocco - Drew Reeves*
Prince of Arragon - Matt Felten
Antonio - Troy Willis*
Leonardo - Chris Schulz
Bassanio - Paul Hester*
Solanio - Nicholas Faircloth
Salerino - J. Tony Brown*
Gratiano - Daniel Parvis
Lorenzo - Chris Rushing
Shylock - Doug Kaye*
Tubal - Drew Reeves*
Jessica - Jaclyn Hofmann
Jailers - Chris Schultz, Matt Felten
Henchmen - Chris Rushing, Daniel Parvis
Launcelot Gobbo - Matt Felten
Old Gobbo - Doug Kaye*
Bassanio’s follower - Chris Schulz
Musicians - Mark Schroeder, Chris Schulz
Theseus - Jonathan Horne
Hippolyta - Tiffany Porter
Egeus - Troy Willis
Hermia - Jaclyn Hofmann
Helena - Eliana Marianes
Lysander - Matt Felten
Demetrius - Paul Hester*
Oberon - Jonathan Horne
Titania - Tiffany Porter
Puck - Daniel Parvis
Fairies - Jeffrey Stephenson, Drew Reeves*, Nicholas Faircloth
Peaseblossom - Troy Willis*
Cobweb - Mark Schroeder
Moth - Bryan Lee
Mustardseed - J. Tony Brown*
Quince - Drew Reeves*
Snug - J. Tony Brown*
Bottom - Nicholas Faircloth
Flute - Jeffrey Stephenson
Snout - Bryan Lee
Starveling - Mark Schroeder
Philostrate - Daniel Parvis
Bardometer RatingHow difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?
You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (though please note that Shakespeare was a bawdy writer, you can’t escape it in any of his plays). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!
We recommend this type of play to families, school-age kids, first-timers to Shakespeare, or anyone who just wants to do something fun on a night off. This type of play is perfect for large groups like birthday parties or special event gatherings.
How to prepare for seeing this kind of play: Just show up! You don’t need to know the play to follow along and enjoy.
Performances this Season
- A Midsummer Night’s DreamPerformances begin July 24, 2014
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)Performances begin August 14, 2014
- The Comedy of ErrorsPerformances begin August 28, 2014