Staging The Merchant of Venice in Cork: The Concretization of a Shakespearean Play for a New Society

In summer 2005, the Irish theatre company Corcadorca presented The Merchant of Venice as part of a multinational project called "Relocations." The production was a site-specific, promenade performance that travelled through Cork city centre late at night. It had a multinational cast in the speaking roles and a multiethnic community cast drawn from the local population, who marshalled the audience, processed, and heckled the Jewish characters from within the spectatorial space. The performance aimed to challenge the audience to confront their response to Ireland's recent history of immigration and the country's increasingly multilingual and multiracial population. This essay explores the concretization in performance of the fictional dramatic world of the play and focuses on specific devices used by the company to realize their interpretation of the work.