Classes support Merchant of Venice production

28 February 2017

Since January, Carleton’s The Merchant of Venice: A Project Course class has been exploring the world of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The class supplements the Carleton Players production of The Merchant of Venice and is led by the play’s director, English Professor Pierre Hecker. Each student contributes to the design and completion of several projects related to the play.

Students in the project course have developed an exhibition in the Weitz Commons to introduce audience members to the issues raised by The Merchant of Venice. These include the play’s portrayal of Jews, women, and racial minorities; the different historical interpretations of the play; and the challenges of presenting age-old plays for contemporary audiences. The exhibition combines interpretive text with images, video, and works from the Gould Library’s Special Collections.

Additionally, the class has created a play program featuring a variety of reflections and academic writing about the production and the play’s content. Through collaboration with Northfield High School and Northfield Middle school, project course students are also working with theater students at each school. At Northfield High School, Carleton students are supporting Northfield students writing plays and preparing spoken word poetry for the Latino and Friends Play Festival. The Northfield students will visit Carleton to present their poetry on February 21 st (9:45-10:30 am in Weitz 230). At Northfield Middle School, Carleton students will join theater classes to play acting games with students and help them perform monologues and scenes from The Merchant of Venice.

(Ed. note: The production of Merchant of Venice was also supported by an exhibition created by History 236: Women and Gender in Europe before the French Revolution, and the set design for the production was collaboratively created by sculpture professor Stephen Mohring’s course Sculptural Space and Performance Design.)