Shakespeare's Globe

The Merchant of Venice

August 4 - 14, 2016

at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

A World's Stage Production from the UK
written by William Shakespeare
directed by Jonathan Munby
starring Jonathan Pryce

On Directing Shakespeare

from Jonathan Munby

"The question I ask in approaching any Shakespeare play is this: How can I allow the audience to be as close to it as I possibly can? What does it mean for them, coming to see this play [now] in this theater? How can I release the play for them?

As a theater-maker, I have to make my own connections in order to tell the story. I’m interested in where the writer was when he or she wrote it and what they were responding to in their world. And I have to find something as relevant to me, or as interesting to me.

Language is at the forefront, always. The word comes first, but what I try to do is find an emotional truth. If you dare to go there, these plays become extraordinarily resonant, and personal, as opposed to being pageants about a time and a place that we no longer connect with. Real people in real situations. It’s understanding first, I suppose, the London that Shakespeare was writing in, and the political debate that was going on. And then it’s transporting that story into our present—and the fantasy of ‘What if?’ It’s a terrifying fact, is it not, that history repeats itself and that we don’t learn from our mistakes. These stories seem to be on an endless kind of cycle. The question I want the audience to come away with is: What is this all for? Why on earth did we go through this? What have we achieved from this?"

Back to The Merchant of Venice

Sold Out
Additional Pages