Gratiano, Grist to the Mill

Presented in English
Spotlites, Edinburgh, Scotland, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe      
August 4-28, 2016     

Grist to the Mill Productions
Written and Performed by Ross Ericson
Directed by Michelle Yim      

“Bassanio has been murdered and, under suspicion, Gratiano is forced to revisit his Fascist past. He was never the hero – just a minor character, the plucky comic relief – but he never thought he played the villain.

In a challenging sequel to William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice we explore the politics of prejudice in the 20th Century.  Amongst the turmoil of post war Italy we read between the lines of Shakespeare's classic tale, examine the true nature of the characters, and ask just how Mussolini managed to use democracy to turn a people against themselves.” --description from company website        

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This performance was presented as a work in progress in Edinburgh, and the finished production will tour in May 2017 to The Rialto in Brighton and the York International Shakespeare Festival.

Selected Reviews:
British Theatre Guide review (5 stars): "a surprising and startlingly intelligent script"

Three Weeks review (4 stars): "What makes this show refreshingly different from the innumerable adaptations of Shakespeare plays, told from a minor character’s perspective, is its political engagement. Ross Ericson sets the events and their aftermath in 1940s Fascist Italy, tracing how hateful, anti-Semitic rhetoric can lead to genocide."

BroadwayBaby review (3 stars): "Though Shakespeare is something which has been revisited and reproduced time and time again, it is rare that one of the minor characters is given a starring role. Written and performed by Ross Ericson, this one-man show is a clever take on the Shakespearean classic The Merchant of Venice, putting Gratiano in the spotlight. Fast-paced, powerful and informative, this offers a fresh and and original take on some of the Bard’s best known work, through the eye’s of one of his lesser known characters."