The Merchant of Venice
Oh, the games that rich people can play without fear of consequences—the merciless Portia, the profligate Bassanio, the loud-mouthed Gratiano, even the well-to-do merchant Antonio. “And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that," says Shylock, the Jewish businessman.
Here is a detailed synopsis on Wikipedia.
For those of you who provide parts a scene at a time, this Character Chart shows all the characters' lines in each scene: Merchant of Venice
If your group reads the plays straight through in one sitting and you want to divide up the parts, we have a number of “cast” lists already divided up for you. These are text files that you can edit to suit your group. We always recommend in a straight-through read that each participant take a moment beforehand to mark their parts—then everything proceeds so smoothly.
- Cast for 8, plus a reader for Stage Directions
- Cast for 9, plus a reader for Stage Directions
- Cast for 10, plus a reader for Stage Directions
The Internet Shakespeare Editions from the University of Victoria provides some short background articles on the life and times of the setting in this play and also in Elizabethan England at the time this play was written.
This is an audio recording of the play by professional actors with sound effects: