BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Trilogy Repertory Co. of Basking Ridge will perform William Shakespeare’s "Merchant of Venice" on Friday and Saturday evenings outdoors at Pleasant Valley Park. The Shakespearean play is the second of the Bernards Parks and Recreation “Plays in the Park" series for this summer, following "Mary Poppins" earlier this season.

Performances are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Friday Aug. 28, and on Saturday Aug. 29 in partnership with the Troupe of Friends theater company of Westfield. The play, which debuted on Thursday night, is presented at the outdoors amphitheater at Pleasant Valley Park off Valley Road in Basking Ridge.

Performances are free to the public but donations are accepted. 

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The audience is encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair and come early with a picnic supper to the amphitheater at the township park.

Additional performances will be presented in Mindowaskin Park in Westfield at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 3-5.

The production is being directed by Joseph Penczak of Westfield, and produced by Hank Barre of Basking Ridge. 

The play will feature "Plays in the Park" veterans Juliet Hommes of Branchburg, Kelly Maizenaski of Middlesex, Peter Curley of Maplewood, Paul Bettys of Parsippany, Ken Bigelow of Cranford, Lee Grabelsky of Cranbury, Eric Russell of Basking Ridge, as well as Sean Marner, Michael Bieber and Joe Penczak of Westfield. All of these performers have appeared on the Pleasant Valley stage in previous productions. 

Newcomers to the ensemble include Meghan Coates of Hampton, Bill Powers of Clifton, Claudio Venancio of Rahway, Megan Tobias of Linden, Amie Quivey of Convent Station, Paul Arfanis of Westfield and Chloe Yu of Basking Ridge.

This production will be set in a more contemporary period, accoring to Trilogy Repertory's website. Several of the actors are undertaking multiple roles and will appear as different characters in different performances. 

"Come for an evening of theater under the stars and enjoy this classic tale of love, hate and justice," the website  says.