Jonathan Pryce takes on the role of Shylock in the Bard’s grisly drama The Merchant Of Venice at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Playing as part of the Globe’s Justice And Mercy season, The Merchant Of Venice tells the story of Portia, a wealthy heiress of Belmont, who is forced to set her suitors a challenge. The winner will win her hand in marriage, but the losers will lose her hand and much more.
Set in Venice, the epicentre of consumption, speculation and debt, the Bard’s tale continues as Bassanio borrows money from his friend Antonio to finance his attempt. Antonio, in turn, takes out a loan from moneylender Shylock. The loan will be repaid when Antonio’s ships return to the city. But if the ships fail to return, and the money cannot be repaid, Antonio will give a pound of his own flesh to Shylock.
Directed by Jonathan Munby, Olivier Award-winning actor Pryce adds the infamous moneylender to a long list of Shakespearean roles played throughout his extensive theatrical career. These include King Lear in the Almeida Theatre’s 2012 production of Shakespeare’s tragedy and the 1980 production of Hamlet that earned the actor his first Olivier Award. However, Pryce is probably best known for originating the role of the Engineer in Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary musical Miss Saigon.
Renowned for featuring some of Shakespeare’s most highly charged scenes, The Merchant Of Venice is a tale of tolerance and intolerance, religious law and civil society, justice and mercy, and in the character of Shylock provides one of the most memorable outsiders in theatre.