Looseleaf Theatre Co. to Present Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice"

The choice to produce “The Merchant of Venice” strays from the comedy productions of previous years. “Merchant”  includes more serious themes such as an examination of the effects of intense racism and blind revenge, rather than just comic entertainment. Looseleaf Theatre Co. pairs high production value with  accessibility to a modern audience.
CONTACT: Lizz Mishreki, Director of Communications

Concordia University Irvine
Lizz.mishreki@cui.edu
(949) 214-3146

LOOSELEAF THEATRE CO. TO PERFORM SHAKESPEARE’S “MERCHANT OF VENICE”

Medieval Play has Modern Relevance

 

IRVINE, Calif., (May 12, 2015) - Looseleaf Theatre Co. will present “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare on May 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 at 4:30 p.m. in the Concordia University Irvine Amphitheatre. The play, which is a mix of comedy and tragedy, will showcase the talents of many Concordia student designers, actors, stage managers, and technicians as well as professional actors and set designers. The play is free and open to the community.

Since 2011 when the theatre department founded  Looseleaf Theatre Co., the group has presented a Shakespearean play for free each year on Concordia’s campus so that students would have professional internship opportunities. “We’re glad that the community comes to share this play with us and that they love the experience as much as we do,” says  Professor of Theatre Tony Vezner, the director of the production.

The choice to produce “The Merchant of Venice” strays from the comedy productions of previous years. “Merchant”  includes more serious themes such as an examination of the effects of intense racism and blind revenge, rather than just comic entertainment. Looseleaf Theatre Co. pairs high production value with  accessibility to a modern audience.

In an iconic courtroom scene, Shylock, a Jewish banker suffering from Venice’s blatant anti-Semitism, demands that he has justice or there will be no peace in the city. “Shylock essentially articulated the viewpoint of the protesters in Baltimore 400 years earlier,” says Vezner, “Shakespeare understands the human heart inside and out and knows that disenfranchised people feel the strong need to be heard.  That doesn't excuse Shylock's focus on revenge, but it does make it understandable on a human level.” The play deals with many relevant issues, including justice versus mercy, and the sting of racism. “It’s a rich piece that still speaks to us today,” says Vezner.

  “The Merchant of Venice” also has personal importance to Vezner. As a college student in Shakespeare’s hometown in England, he viewed a particularly controversial rendition of the play. Afterwards, he got into a sharp disagreement with an audience member who finally challenged, “Well, if you know so much, maybe you should direct!” “That off-hand remark changed my career direction,” says Vezner. “It's taken me nearly 30 years, but I'm finally getting to wrestle with the play that started it all for me.”

Tickets are not required for the free production. Parking is available on Concordia’s campus at 1530 Concordia West; Irvine, CA 92612, and concessions will be sold. All ages are welcome. More information is available at www.cui.edu/GoTheatre

About Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. CUI offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and adult degree programsin a beautiful Southern California location in the City of Irvine, with online and regional cohort options. Concordia’s undergraduate program is distinctive among universities in California because of its nationally recognized Core Curriculum,and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of  "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S.News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. CUI enrolls over 4,000 students.

About Looseleaf Theatre Co.

In 2011, Concordia’s theatre department launched a professional theatre company to give students internship opportunities in acting, design and tech. Looseleaf Theatre Co. is a unique teaching tool that allows students to learn alongside professionals and gain their first professional credits while still in college. Since its inception, Looseleaf Theatre Co. has produced three Shakespearean plays. Students and professionals partner to give the public fun, free entertainment.

 



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