By KAREN CRAIG
Merchant of Venice director

Boxing Merchant of Venice.
One part of the Merchant of Venice story centres around three caskets of gold, silver and lead.
"Caskets" in Shakespearian English means boxes NOT coffins! Portia's (deceased) father has ensured control over who she will marry by requiring any suitor to choose the casket "that bears her image". In the play, we see three suitors — one of whom is successful (although this is not the only story, nor the end of the story).

The story of our caskets starts in 1995. Yvonne Jones, our props creator and manager (Little Shop of Horrors — Audrey; The Tempest — the ship with hubby Ian, to name a couple of her most recent creations) went "poozling" in the Amdram props basement and found these perfect boxes (pictured).
These very same caskets were used in the Four Seasons Theatre, David Charteris production of Merchant of Venice.

These are not the only items we share from this production — our Antonio (Phil Hudson — The Tempest's Stephano among many other roles) was an 18-year-old Bassanio.
Yvonne plans to freshen up the caskets for our production and Linda Hardcastle, our wardrobe manager, will do the same for Phil!

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If you need a bit of guidance on what the play is about, an abridged version is being performed at Patrick's Book Shop in Ridgway St on Saturday, January 18 at 2pm — part of Vintage Weekend. It will be a 15-minute primer on the main points without any spoilers.
The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare's black comedy, will be performed outside at the Bason Botanic Gardens on Thursday, February 27, Friday February 28, Saturday, February 29 at 7pm and on Sunday, March 1 at 1pm. Tickets and picnic hampers can be purchased from the Royal Wanganui Opera House.