Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice gets Limerick treatment

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice gets Limerick treatment
Transition year students of Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh are bringing a taste of Limerick city to the William Shakespeare classic, the Merchant of Venice. The updated version complete with Limerick slang will be staged at the Millennium Theatre in LIT on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10 at 8pm.

Transition year students of Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh are bringing a taste of Limerick city to the William Shakespeare classic, the Merchant of Venice. The updated version complete with Limerick slang will be staged at the Millennium Theatre in LIT on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10 at 8pm.

Ogie O Ceilleachair, codirector of the play explained what he was trying to achieve with the updated version:

“We wanted to make it contemporary and accessible to a modern audience. We cut out bits, we added bits in. We updated the English to modern teenage lingo. We kept the design Venetian but we changed the dialogue. We wanted to open it up to a wider audience. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” laughed Ogie of his modifications to the Shakespeare masterpiece, “hopefully it’ll be acclaimed.”

“It’s a definite re-imagining of the original, a mix of everything; music, drama and comedy. We connected a lot of the original themes to present day contemporary issues. For example the merchant running out of money, we compared to a business man today running out of money in the recession.

“The language is completely modern youth lingo with a bit of Limerick city thrown in. I’ve written a few plays before so I did most of the scripting and Fionnuala Ní Choigligh (codirector) took care of the costume and set design.

Ogie is hopeful of opening up the work of Shakespeare to a whole ne audience. “It will definitely suit a teenage audience with everything that’s in it, the dialogue, the music and the dancing. They’re all really modern which is in contrast with the set and costume design which is traditional Venetian,” he added.

Conor Wallace, following in the footsteps of Jeremy Irons in playing the title character, said of the role: “We did the play in third year for our junior cert and I had a good understanding of it. The dialogue has been changed a good bit, with some Limerick slang added. It’s way more fun, you can do a lot with it, you can act it out and use your own dialect you use it at home.”

Conor thinks the audience will find the adaptation easy to follow: “They will understand it a lot easier than reading the original. It’s more enjoyable to do and to watch. I will be a bit nervous on the night but I’m really looking forward to it; seeing what everyone thinks.”

Tickets costing €8 for children/students and €10 for adults are available on the LIT website or through contacting Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh at 061-404959.