Fermat’s Last Theater Company is a small theater company based in Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to work collaboratively to bring classic and contemporary works to new and diverse audiences.
We have started this Kickstarter project to help us stage Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice August 1-4. We need money for props, costumes, space rental and printing. Details about us and the production are below. And watch the video where a few of us talk about the play and make a brazen appeal for money.
Our goal is $2,500 - a bit less than the 3,000 ducats Shylock loans Antonio but 'twill serve our needs. No contribution is too small and all are most welcome and appreciated. We have priced the tickets at only $7 to make the production accessible to a wide audience
This will be a modern dress staging in a small space - the Rotunda Studio at the Overture Center, 201 State Street in downtown Madison.
Written over 400 years ago, this raises important issues that resonate today - justice, mercy, religion and money.
Risks and challenges
This project is happening. Performance space (the Overture Center for Performing Arts) is booked, the rehearsal space is booked, the rehearsal calendar is up and running. The production team has enough experience to navigate the usual offstage drama of producing a drama. Everyone involved in the project has a deep background in performance. Collectively we have been part of over fifty Shakespeare productions.
Of course, performing any Shakespeare play is a challenge, and The Merchant of Venice, arguably Shakespeare's most controversial work, comes with its own particular directorial minefield to get through. What are we to make of Shylock? Is he a villain, a wronged man who seeks justice from his tormentors, or a tragic figure? Is it still possible to perform this as a comedy? Fortunately, the cast, producers, directors and stage management are all over this.
FLT's Merchant will be no Shakespearean costume drama. By using modern dress with minimal props and a bare, black box space, with the stage thrust into the seating plan, we will be bringing the complexity and ambiguity of this story up close to the audience. The acting challenge of creating in-your-face subtlety is one that we'll be focusing on in rehearsals.
The typical setbacks that face a theatrical production have to do with casting (we're done) making rehearsals happen efficiently ( we have a solid, experienced stage management team) and dealing with surprise intangibles such as having to replace a cast member. The group's experience and connections in the theater community are deep enough to compensate for any road bumps that may come up during the process.
Fermat's Last Theater is a deeply committed and energetic group who eagerly look forward to the process of working through the challenges of putting on a production of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice that will be transformative for the company and the audience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)