Mercer Players’ new season brings the Bard to the Backdoor Theatre

The Mercer Players are gearing up for another fabulous season and first up is Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, which Broadway’s Best Shows describes as a tragic comedy “rich with love and betrayal, forgiveness and revenge.”
The Players are not wasting any time, already jumping into rehearsals for the show which will run from Sept. 27-Oct. 7. “We have an exciting cast of 20 for Merchant of Venice, and they’re delving into it with great enthusiasm and energy,” director Scot Mann said.
Senior Julie Allen has been cast as Leonardo in The Merchant of Venice and is looking forward to the experience. “This is my first role in a Mercer production,” Allen said. “It’s fun to see how things are done and to be learning from the talented people involved.”
Senior Suzanne Stroup, President of the Mercer Players, , will be playing the role of Portia: a wealthy heiress who is bound by a clause in her father’s will to marry whichever suitor chooses correctly among three caskets.
“I’ve never done Shakespeare before, so I really thought that the memorization would come along slower than in contemporary English,” Stroup said. “But when you understand the meaning, the point really comes across to an audience and the mechanics of memorization come as well.”
Performing Shakespeare certainly poses additional challenges for the Players. Senior Harley Maddox said, “I’ve had to change the way that I naturally speak, mostly the things that are a part of my natural accent.” However, as an actor, conquering the Bard also proves to be immensely rewarding.
“I think people learn more about the craft from performing Shakespeare than any other playwright,” Mann said, “so I think it’s important that we do Shakespeare often.”
The second show for this semester will be “Independence”, by Lee Blessing, and will run from November 11-18. The play, set in 1983, is described as a gripping and humorous rollercoaster ride of the lives of three grown daughters and their offbeat mother. The 2013 spring semester will start off with Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, a black comedy that will run February 7-17.
“I’m really looking forward to The Seagull,” Stroup said. “Chekhov is my favorite playwright, and this particular play is my favorite of his works.”
Last but not least, wrapping up the season will be Karen Zacarias’ “The Legacy of Light”, “a time-traveling comedy about Emilie du Chatalet (lover to famous novelist Voltaire) and a present-day scientist whose worlds collide.” “The Legacy of Light” is scheduled to run April 12-21.
“I think we’ve picked out a lot of great shows that will allow all of us actors good opportunities to be diverse, and that’s always exciting,” Maddox said. “As an actor you want to take on as many different roles as possible because it helps you get better.”
All of the productions will be, as usual, in Mercer’s Backdoor Theatre, in the lower level of Willingham.
“It’s a very intimate space, the audience is right there and the actors get a lot of feedback from that,” Mann stated. The Backdoor Theatre really makes each production a unique experience. Like Mann stated, it helps the actors as well as the audience feel as if they are a part of each show.
If you have not yet seen a show by the Mercer Players, what are you waiting for? Come experience the wealth of talent that Mercer Theatre has to offer this season! Tickets for the shows are $5.00. For reservations and ticket information, call 478-301-2974.