Grist for the Mill Productions
From 04 August 2016 to 28 August 2016
Review by Catherine Lamm
In this “as told by” description of what has happened on and behind the scenes of Merchant of Venice, Gratiano is in a valuable observation post. And playwright/performer, Ross Ericson, gives us the lesser character, Gratiano, with a wealth of common sense.
Gratiano has been arrested for murder the previous night but he was too much in his cups to remember. This forces him into his second-hand impression of what has happened during the financial, legal and romantic relationships; Gratiano gives us a hindsight, pragmatic view.
We know that Shylock wants his pound of flesh; after all, that was what was agreed to in the contract. But here, the earthy Gratiano muses over Portia, who donned men’s clothes, having never taken a law course, demanding after a trial full of questionable logic, “what mercy did she show Shylock?” when he is forced to give up his religion.
Mr Ericson views Grationo as a Roman citizen during and just after WW II, which is a unique place for Mr Ericson to review the lives of Antonio, Bassanio, Portia, Jessica and Shylock.
Playwright/performer Ross Ericson gives us so much more. In a surprising and startlingly intelligent script, handily performed, Mr Ericson admits in epilogue that Gratiano is still in development. This has all the potential of being a smart vehicle for Mr Ericson.