Learning Outside the Classroom

An Account of grade 9 IGCSE English Literature trip to see the 'Merchant of Venice' with Ms Hogsflesh, Mr Howell, Ms Stolle and Ms Kienle.

A short walk from the restaurant was the theater in which we would see "the Merchant of Venice". Arriving punctually, we hurried inside to take our seat. The surprisingly empty theater allowed for some flexibility as to where we sat and soon I was sitting beside my friends, eagerly awaiting the start of the play. For the next two hours I remained immersed in the world of "The Merchant of Venice", expertly reimagined by a colorful and skilled crew of actors.

The play put a twist on the classic tale by Shakespeare, infusing it with humor and adding extensive props. At several times, such as when Lorenzo rocked out on his ukulele or any scene including the twins Salarino and Salanio, I remembered the audience( as well as myself) bursting into uproarious laughter.

Still, the play stayed true to its source material, Shakespeare's dark drama, and when the ravenous Shylock went to tear a pound of flesh from Antonio's body and Bassanio threw up on stage, I feared the play had taken the plunge into a murky sadness from which it would never arise. However, it did, and the play ended on a happy and humorous note. In fact, that's one of the reasons I loved this play!

Reading Shakespeare's script in our English lessons was very difficult. However, to watch the performance was a different experience entirely: the performance was rife with powerful emotion, especially the brotherhood and love shared between Bassanio and Antonio (which culminated in a kiss).

Despite the fact that I already knew the eventual outcome of the story, I still found myself following the rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish. In truth, through the entirety of the intermission I found myself gripped with a deep-seated tension that was not resolved until the play began again and I saw that Antonio had not fallen to Shylock.

The acting was sublime, particularly that of the actor playing Shylock, who this time was depicted as a greedy monster, undeserving of sympathy, as seen when he ranted about the jewels stolen from him during his daughter's flight to casper. This was an interesting take on Shylock, for while reading the script, I had considered him to be more of a sympathetic character.

The show also had a fun and exciting musical aspect, the actors singing in order to show great emotion. As the play came to a humerous and happy end, we began to clap ecstatically, the actors making their way onstage for one last bow. Making our way outside, we chatted excitedly, each of us eager to share our thoughts concerning the play.

Avik M. , 9C