Gratiano

Ross Ericson

Grist for the Mill Productions

Spotlites

From 04 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: *****

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.