I have made it a point to watch Shakespeare in the Park since I first saw Macbeth in 2011, but skipped last year’s Othello due to its depressing nature. I didn’t write about Twelfth Night, but after watching this year’s production I simply had to blog about the Merchant of Venice.
Performing Shakespeare in anachronistic settings is nothing new, and for this performance the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) went for the modern corporate world. Antonio is a rich merchant, Portia is the modern corporate superwoman, and Shylock an Indian chettiar.
I think this metropolitan setting is appropriate, and the interweaving of modern day elements like technology and modern memes work very well in bringing the play to Life and making it a lot more accessible to today’s audiences. Portia is wooed by tablets, selections are made by touchscreen, messages are disseminated through text/ chat messages, and the wanes of Antonio’s fortunes are made more plausible through hints of not just shipping, but commodity market failures.