The Merchant of Venice


The Merchant of Venice

Heartland Actors’ first Shakespeare on the Canal production, the Merchant of Venice, was performed as part of the 2008 White River State Park Family Arts Series. Directed by Michael Shelton, the cast included company members Ben Tebbe, Matthew Roland, Scot Greenwell, Diane Timmerman, Ryan Artzberger, Phebe Taylor, Sam Fain, and also featured Charles Goad, Monte Tapplar, Adam Crowe, Rebecca Masur, Jamison Kay, Jeff Keel, Glenn deRoziere, and Eric J. Olson. Laura Glover was the lighting designer, and Kathleen Egan was the costume designer. The one-night only performance, which was free to the public, attracted over 1,500 audience members.

Director Michael Shelton and the cast had also made the whole piece very accessible.  As far as I could tell, they had not adapted the language – it still sounded “Shakespeare-y” rather than modern – but they spoke it very clearly and illuminated it brilliantly through their actions.  Their skillful choices about how to say each line, and how to block each scene, made it possible for me to forget that I was improving my cultural literacy. The show was a pleasure to watch. There were lots and lots and LOTS of people in the audience; they packed and then overflowed the large amphitheatre.  Standing people lined the railings overlooking it.  Whenever I glanced up, they seemed as enrapt as the rest of us. A treat! Indytheatrehabit

Online response from Indianaauditions.com, a website devoted to theatre in Indiana:

  • “Thank you, HART, for showing that Indianapolis is not only ready for Shakespeare, it’s apparently ANXIOUS for it!” 
  • “Yes, more Shakespeare! That was great!”
  • “I can’t stop smiling.” 
  • “Quite the perfect summer evening. The story was made completely accessible by the uniformly strong cast.” 
  • “A not-to-be-missed theater event.” 
  • “It was like being in a different city. …lots and lots of people with their picnics and bikes and loved ones listening and watching Shakespeare in Downtown Indianapolis! And it was good Shakespeare!”