New England
Cast of The Merchant of Venice


For two nights last weekend, a creative group of students at Thomas Aquinas College, New England, performed Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice on the stage of Olivia Music Hall, entertaining their peers with Elizabethan hijinks and romance.

Co-directed by alumnus Joe Rivera (’17) and sophomore Matthew Santos (’26), the production was the product of three months of hard work and sacrifices from the entire cast and crew. Culminating in two nights of performance, the results of their toil were stunning. The play featured a hand-painted backdrop, custom Renaissance dresses for the leading ladies, and, of course, phenomenal acting from the entire cast.

Following a band of lovesick Venetian men, the play concerns the labors of the romantic Bassanio as he attempts to woo the beautiful yet witty Portia, all while the scheming Shylock plots revenge against Bassanio’s good friend and benefactor, Antonio. In the five-act debacle, interspersed with drama and comedy, the audience was greatly entertained by Portia’s artful reasoning, Shylock’s vengeful speeches, and the hilarious escapades of the many comedic side characters.

“It was an amazing show,” said Audrey Maddox (’26), who played Portia. “Joe was a wonderful director, and I had a great time!”