E M DelafieldSt. John Ervine was an English theatre critic in 1920s, '30s, writing often for Time and Tide, that remarkably sensible middle-class magazine which first featured the dry and sly E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady (reserve this book right away!). But I digress.
He also wrote a play, The Lady of Belmont, which takes the Merchant of Venice 10 years later. Below is a sample of the dialogue, which is dated, though perhaps it acts well. If you have a taste of Shakespeare travesties and parodies, there are, as with anything Shakespearean, oodles and oodles of them. NYPL has 69 alone, under the subject heading "Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Parodies, imitations, etc."
But in any case, please do try to come to some of the Shakespeare lectures this week, beginning tomorrow Monday April 23 at 1:15 p.m. in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in the South Court Auditorium. I'll be there, hosting. Mention this blog for a silly prize.
Antonio: What a fickle thing is the memory of man! Why, Nerissa, on this day, ten years ago, my life was sought!...
Nerissa: I know the story well. I have heard it before.
Ant: By Shylock, here in Venice. A Jew! God save us all, a Jew!
Ner: I wonder if it will rain to-night.
Ant: Rain! Why should it rain?
Ner: I do not know. I wondered.
Ant: You put me off my argument with your irrelevant speculations on weather. This Jew, Shylock, had a bond of me that I should lose a pound of flesh — flesh, mark you! — to be cut off by him nearest my heart if I should fail to pay him some three thousand ducats that he had lent Bassanio on my security.
Ner: Indeed, Antonio, I know the story only too well.
Ant: A pound of flesh! Nearest my heart! Here! This very spot! I'll show it to you!
[He begins to unfasten his doublet.]
Ner: I beg you, no! I have seen it many times before, and I have a nervous heart.