Jonathan Pryce On Being Shylock Jonathan Pryce as Shakespeare's Shylock, in 'The Merchant of Venice'

Jonathan Pryce On Being Shylock

Liverpool Everyman exterior
Liverpool Everyman exterior

Shakespeare. He’s all over the place this year isn’t he? Anyone’d think he’d been swallowing swords on Britain’s Got Talent or something.

We’re getting our fill of the bard’s brilliance later in the year, as a co-production between The Globe and the Everyman brings The Two Gentlemen of Verona to town. But first, returning alumnus Jonathan Pryce – as Shylock, in a revival of the blockbusting 2015 Globe production of the searing and timely exploration of tolerance and  mercy, The Merchant of Venice.

Thought to have been written between 1596 and 1599 by William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice tells the story of a 16th-century merchant in (you guessed it) Venice, who must default on a large loan provided by an abused Jewish moneylender, Shylock.

Though classified as a comedy, the play is most widely known for its dramatic scenes. Jonathan Pryce tells It’s Liverpool about the challenges of playing Shakespeare’s most miserly character.

“I hate that phrase ‘comfort zone’,” Pryce says, “But Shylock was definitely way out of mine. When I played King Lear, I felt I knew him  – knew the man, understood that descent into madness. Lear gets a chance to express himself. With Shylock, you just don’t. So much of him is in shadow.”

Evidently, he found a route into the man’s psyche – so successful was the Globe production, it transferred over to the US before coming here.

The Merchant of Venice
Playhouse
9-16 July
everymanplayhouse.co.uk

For more features from It’s Liverpool magazine – Summer 2016 click here. 

Published: 05/07/2016

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