Merchant of Venice to open at the Rock Garden on Monday August 14th. Rehearsals indicate a well produced and fun show is in store.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 10th, 2017



We seldom realize just how much of our commonly used phrases come from the pen of William Shakespeare.

If you take in the upcoming production of The Merchant of Venice that will take the grassy lawn of the Rock Garden at Royal Botanical Gardens you will hear dozens of phrases that you use frequently without fully realizing where they cane from.

Merchant full cast

The cast from the left: Chris Reid/Shylock, Michael Hannigan/Antonio, Alma Sarai/Portia, Shawn Coelho-DeSouza/Prince of Morocco and Lorenzo, Claudia Spadafora, Jessica, Isabel Starks/Ensemble, Jamie Kasiama/Nerissa, Zach Parsons/Bassanio, Jesse Horvath/Launcelot.

Trevor Copp tells people that in the Merchant “Money makes the world go ’round: Portia has it. Bassanio wants it. Shylock lends it. Antonio owes it – and it will cost him dearly.

“Dark in its humour and bawdy in its romantic hijinks, The Merchant Of Venice takes audiences on a journey of love, mercy and (in)justice.

The cast of

Marchant Intern and Alma

Isabel Starks and Alma Sarai during rehearsals taking notes on changes.

Chris Reid/Shylock,

Michael Hannigan/Antonio,

Alma Sarai/Portia,

Shawn Coelho-DeSouza/Prince of Morocco and Lorenzo,

Claudia Spadafora/

Jessica, Isabel Starks/Ensemble,

Jamie Kasiama/Nerissa,

Zach Parsons/Bassanio,

Jesse Horvath/Launcelot

is in final rehearsals – they will put on two performances in St. Catharines before opening at the Rock Garden May 14th.

Is St. Catharines going to be Burlington’s Peoria – the city that many live productions try out on before hitting stages in Manhattan?

The schedule is August 14th to the 18th, 21st to 25th; the 28th and September 1


Tickets are available at:

Merchant - plays antonio

Michael Hannigan plays Antonio,

This is the second year that Copp has mounted Shakespeare at the Rock Garden which provides the perfect atmosphere for a night of inspiring theatre under the stars. This is a very physical production that has a number of the 2016 crew returning to the stage.

The event was basically sold out last year; opening night RBG staff had to bring out additional seats. Heck even the Mayor was on hand – he didn’t stay for the full performance.

We sat in on a full rehearsal earlier this week. There a couple of line drops and some last minute change suggestions. Copp includes his staff at almost every level – certainly on the content of the production. Blocking and movement of different actors on the stage is a collaborative thing; more often than not he will say “sure, why not”.

Merchant - Trevor with laptop

Copp: focused, intent but wide open to ideas and suggestions.

His direction however is tightly focused – he doesn’t miss a thing and has a way of working with each actor in a way that works for the actor. While Copp is a dance artist in his own right – he doesn’t drag around a lot of ego with him.

The cast works well together – they like each other and share the ins and outs of their daily lives. These are educated and informed people with a sense of humour and some sharp wits as well. The black humour is not to be shared.

Each performance will include a half hour intermission with garden tours available during that time.

The Rock Garden will close to the general public at 5:30 p.m.  Garden opens at 6 p.m. to those who have purchased tickets. Seating is first come first served.

Midsummer - cast and audience

Great audiences last year – superb production coming this year.

The performance is rain or shine however in the event of inclement weather, RBG will determine at 5 p.m. if the theatrical performance will be cancelled. To check for a cancellation please check our Facebook page or call the weather hotline at 905-527-1158 ext. 404.

Your ticket will be valid to attend a future show of your choosing. Please call 905-527-1158 ext. 516 to arrange your new date. For those with dinner reservations, dinner service will go ahead as planned. If the performance is cancelled while in progress, please see the event staff to reschedule for another performance date.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply