00012: IL MERCANTE DI VENEZIA & VENEZIA MILLENARIA
The first day I saw two shows: “Il Mercante de Venezia” and “Venezia Millenaria.” In English: “The Merchant of Venice” and “Millennial Venice.” The first play is by Shakespeare but the production was adapted to the Commedia dell’arte style, including Commedia dell’arte characters, and modern language. The show was an hour and 20 minutes long and it contained serious storytelling and some funny bits. The problem with this presentations was that “because it is still Shakespeare,” the actors playing the serious roles, were, in fact too serious and spoke very softly. And when you speak softly in an open air space, where thousands of people are walking around, talking, and children are being children, you can’t hear much. I was in the second row and had a hard time hearing two of the actors, that made watching this play a challenge.
“Il Mercante di Venezia” is presented by Compagnia Teatro Immagine.
Venezia Millenaria was incredibly funny. It had four characters: Brighella, Colombina, Arlechinno, and Pantalone. The story revolved around the character of Pantalone, who is rich but also greedy. And being that the play is about celebrating a thousand years of Venezia’s history, Pantalone wants a big celebration but he doesn’t want to pay for it (of course.) The play had a lot of audience participation with lots of improvisation, which is where the actor playing Arlechinno shined the most. Besides acting, the actors sang, danced, performed acrobatic bits, and spoke in Italian, English, French, and something they called “comediante.” This show contained lots of sexual innuendos and many bits where the actors played with words that could have non-sexual double meanings. Even the songs were funny and some were very suggestive. Overall, the show was a political satire about celebrating 1000 years of Venice’s history and the carnival in an era filled with millennials. Very, very entertaining.
“Venezia Millenaria” was presented by Compagnia Teatro dei Navigli.
Here are two short samples from VENEZIA MILLENARIA: