The Antonio enigma

WP_20150209_001Almost everything is scheduled for my London trip. Theatre tickets purchased, plane and hotel booked (and payed), there is just a single unknown detail left: who will play Antonio in Globe’s Merchant of Venice? A complex character, torn by his love for Bassanio and his hatred for Shylock.

Antonio_by_Jeremy_Irons_2004_merchant_of_venice_012
The unfathomable Jeremy Irons as the one and only Antonio on screen

Antonio may seem weak, the mature man pathetically in love with a younger one who ignores him, but he’s not. In his very first lines he presents himself in a love-driven melancholia, as someone who thinks that his part to play in the world “is a sad one”. But we must not forget that there’s another Antonio, the one that, as Shylock will remind him later, “call(ed) me misbeliever, cut-throat dog and spat upon my Jewish gaberdine”, and also one of the most successful merchants in the city of merchants, a leading man. Who has just one and only weakness, Bassanio.

Daniel Laplaine will play Bassanio. Source: Daily Mail
Jonathan Pryce will be Shylock. Image from Berlinale website

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