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Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development

The Merchant of Venice


Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts - Beijing Comedy Theatre

Dates: July 11-30, 2017


NCPA has produced Shakespeare’s three works including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet and King Lear since 2016. Themed with “the spirit of contract”, drama The Merchant of Venice co-produced by NCPA and Tianjie Group tells a story about love and friendship. Apart from drama performers, a band and a bel canto vocalist also join this performance.

Original Writer: William Shakespeare

Translator: ZHU Shenghao

*This drama is performed in CHINESE With CHINESE subtitles.


To chase after Portia, a wealthy successor who resides in Belmont, Bassanio intends to borrow money from his friend Antonio. But Antonio's money has been mortgaged on merchant ships away from Venice, so he has to ask for loan from usurious Shylock. Shylock promises to grant the loan with a rigid precondition: If Antonio fails to repay debt in due course, Shylock has the right to gut a pound of Antonio’s flesh.

In Belmont, the suitors are requested to guess which of the three boxes contain Portia’s photo, for Portia’s father wants her to be married to the suitor who makes the correct choice. When Portia feels unhappy, Bassanio comes late and selects the right box. In Venice, Shylock is informed that some of Antonio’s merchant ships are missing in the sea, so he is eager to honour the agreement. When Bassanio learns that Antonio has been arrested due to failure to repayment, he returns back to Venice. However, Shylock turns a deaf ear to all appeals from Bassanio.

Portia and her waiting-maid Nerissa respectively disguise as male judge Balthasar and his clerk, rushing to Venice to speak in defense of Antonio. In the court, Duke of Venice listens to Shylock's statement of the case, and points out that Shylock's claim for compensation is not legally effective. However, Sherlock objects. At this time, “Balthasar” presents “himself” and announces that if Shylock has no mercy on Antonio, the previous agreement must be honoured. But a pound of Antonio’s flesh must be accurately gutted, and even a drop of blood cannot be taken away. Shylock knows that he is unjustifiable so that he tries to escape from the court. As he viciously intends to hurt Antonio, he has to pay the price: His property is confiscated by the court, and his destiny is decided by Antonio. Eventually, Shylock's treacherous plot fails and Portia and Antonio get married.


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