On April 26, 2014, The Davidson College English Department and WDAV held a live radio broadcast of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This unique production of the Elizabethan classic harkens back to the heyday of radio drama, and was presented in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s baptism.
The performances were presented by students in the Spring 2014 Radio Shakespeare seminar taught by Davidson Professor of English Cynthia Lewis. The ten actors appearing in the two-hour show studied, discussed and applied historical and critical literature concerning Shakespeare’s famous characters.
In the play, the Venetian merchant Antonio finances his friend Bassanio’s trip to Belmont by borrowing from the Jewish money-lender Shylock, who demands a pound of his flesh as collateral. In Belmont, Bassanio wins the hand of the fair Portia through choosing the correct casket from gold, silver, and lead. When Antonio’s bond becomes forfeit, Shylock demands his pound of flesh. Bassanio returns to Venice in hopes of saving Antonio’s life, but Portia, disguised as a male judge, becomes his friend’s only hope.
Program Audio: Radio Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice Full Text
Antonio / Balthazar – Chris Blanchard ‘14
Bassanio – Jacob Fanning ‘14
Shylock – Alex Baggott ‘16
Lorenzo / Arragon – Noah Driver ‘16
Lancelot / Duke of Venice / Salerio – Ellyson Glance ‘16
Gratiano / Morocco – Jessica Albano ‘15
Portia – Christine Noah ‘14
Nerissa / Solanio / Leonardo – Katherine Silva ‘14
Jessica / Messenger – Katie Wilkes ‘14
Old Gobbo / Tubal / Portia’s serving man / Stefano – Mary Catherine Clark ‘14
"[The Merchant of Venice is] one of the better choices among Shakespeare's plays for radio performance because, although it's technically defined as a comedy, it doesn't have much in the way of sight gags, so you don't miss the visual humor that you would in some of the other plays. The play is full of passion, however, which seem[s] ideal for the radio."