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Act 1 Scene 1
Gratiano Let me play the fool: / With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, And let my liver rather heat with wine / Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Antonio is depressed but unable to explain exactly why he's sad. His friends assume he's worried about his investments. Here, Gratiano urges Antonio not to act sad just to appear wise. Notice the contemporary costumes create the spirit of a modern commercial Venice.
Left to right:Antonio - Clifford RoseGratiano - Mark LockyerLorenzo - Mark Lewis JonesBassanio - Owen Teale
Photo by Malcolm Davies © RSC
Act 2 Scene 2
Launcelot Father, come; I'll take my leave of the Jew in the twinkling of an eye.
Bassanio agrees to hire Launcelot Gobbo and his father, who have previously been in service to Shylock. This photograph shows a clear view of the upper section of the stage. Set in a hard-edged commercial world like the City in London, this Venice is created with industrial building materials.
Left to right: Old Gobbo - Raymond BowersLauncelot Gobbo - Christopher LuscombeBassanio - Owen Teale
Act 3 Scene 2
Portia I pray you, tarry: pause a day or two / Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong, I lose your company: therefore forbear awhile.
Bassanio (Owen Teale) has arrived at Belmont and is ready to choose a casket, hoping to marry Portia (Penny Downie). She is worried he may fail and urges him to delay his choice so she can spend longer with him. Notice Portia's grace and feminine elegant costume which creates a Belment very different from Venice.
Act 4 Scene 1
Portia The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven / Upon the place beneath
Portia (Penny Downie) enters the court, disguised as Balthasar, a lawyer. When Antonio admits to the bond he made with Shylock, Portia concludes that Shylock (David Calder) must show mercy. In this production, this scene took place in a formal courtroom, with the assembly sat behind benches.
Portia This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; / The words expressly are 'a pound of flesh'
Just as Shylock (David Calder) is about to cut into Antonio (Clifford Rose) to take his 'pound of flesh', Portia points out that the bond is forfeit if he takes a single drop of blood. Notice how disordered the courtroom now appears, in contrast to earlier in the trial scene (see previous photo).
Act 5 Scene 1
Lorenzo The moon shines bright: in such a night as this, When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees / And they did make no noise
Jessica (Kate Duchene) and Lorenzo (Mark Lewis Jones) have eloped to the peaceful environment of Portia's home in Belmont. Notice Jessica's relaxed contemporary dress and body language here, in contrast to Portia's formal appearance in the casket scene (see photo 3).
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