Eighth and Ninth Graders Perform "The Merchant of Venice" with Nightingale-Bamford

Last Monday eighth graders from Allen-Stevenson and Nightingale-Bamford performed Shakespeare’s difficult The Merchant of Venice. Because the School’s theater was unavailable due to construction, the play was staged in the round in Nightingale’s black box theater with actors entering through the audience into a center playing space. The costumes and lighting were designed to be simple and apart from a few props, the stage was bare.
Director David Kersey, who has staged the play twice before, said that, "aside from the wonderful feast of language, the play’s themes, particularly its bigotry and racism, allow for an open and unforced discussion of difficult topics."
 
To arrive at performance day ready and in a relatively short period of time, the actors rehearsed during Friday elective class and on Saturdays throughout the fall. Alex Wilf, who played Tubal, explained how much he enjoyed the opportunity to perform and to work with such a supportive cast. When asked what he liked about being in the play he said, "It’s fun to pretend you’re part of another story." Also noteworthy was the decision to cast a girl, Natalie Kleiner, as a female Shylock added a whole new perspective to the play…and what a powerful performance she gave!
 
The A-S Student Tech Crew, under the guidance of Stacy Donovan, provided support both on and off the set, helping with lighting, queues, props and stage maintenance.
 
Thank you to Directors David Kersey, Meg MacCary NBS ’87, Charles Socarides ’92 and Genesis Oliver; Costume Designer Stacy Donovan; and the many other people, as listed in the program, who also helped to make this production possible.

To order a DVD of the performance, please click here.
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Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.