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.

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