THE STORY: Portia, a once-rich society girl, is about to celebrate her victory in the recent trial and her marriage to Bassanio. As the party is beginning, however, she is reminded of her own financial difficulties by her accountant, Salerio, who is secretly in love with her. She shrugs off his warnings, but her wedding reception begins to fall apart on its own. Antonio, who turns out to be gay, is knocked down by Bassanio, who blames his impulsiveness on his Irish background. Gratiano, who is African-American, and Nerissa, who is Latina, become impatient playing subservient roles and seek out the company of their own people. Lorenzo discovers that his attraction to Jessica is based on a kind of reverse stereotyping, while Jessica decides to liberate herself from her traditional upbringing. Shylock arrives with some surprises of his own. He persuades Portia to try to put the community back together, and after a number of twists and turns, the evening ends with a tentative attempt to celebrate a new kind of Venice on a more open and diverse basis.
OVERTIME begins where Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice ends, but now we are in contemporary times and Venice feels very much like America. "…Gurney piles up insults atop stereotypes atop genuine cultural observations with the cheerful delicacy of a sociological pastry chef." —NY Newsday. "…Gurney is one of the most astute observers of the American scene, and OVERTIME reflects his acute perceptions." —NY Daily News.