Fort Lauderdale Merchants of Venice Play A Twist On A Classic Will Feature A South Florida Cast of Color And Costumes By The Miami Fashion Institute
Fort Lauderdale Play Merchants of Venice Opens at the Victory Black Box Theatre in July 2022
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
You may be familiar with William Shakespeare’s Play The Merchant of Venice. It’s a 16th-century play in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio defaults on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599.
Grace Arts, FL. a Florida Non-Profit theater company, has assembled a talented cast of young performers to tell this Shakespearean Classic in a uniquely adapted fashion featuring costume designs by Miami’s Fashion Institute and talented South Florida actors of color.
Clare Vickery, Director of Grace Arts FL., said the inspiration for the adaptation of Merchant of Venice came years ago while researching the Underground Railroad.
“Florida, or ‘La Florida’ as it was known as a Spanish territory in the 17–1800’s, was an early refuge for thriving maroon communities and a pathway to freedom for black and brown people escaping colonial slavery but later the State would become a Jim Crow South stronghold. Miami and Fort Lauderdale have historic African American commercial districts and neighborhoods with many successful and iconic cultural sites and businesses that no longer stand but were in full bloom in the 1930s through the 60s.
Our take ‘Merchants of Venice’ replaces Shakespeare’s Venice and Belmont with a South Florida Black Renaissance beginning after The Great Depression. Shylock, played by veteran actor Kent Chambers -Wilson, represents the survivalist tactics of black elders who managed to create wealth despite the constraints of the devastating economic crash and racist policies,” said Vickery.
Antonio, Bass(anio), Lorenzo (young men with modest means but big dreams), and the daughters of black wealth — Portia, a wealthy heiress, and her friend…