The Conversos of Venice

Venice, 1601: Twelve years after the forced conversion portrayed in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", an elderly Shylock lives as a strange prisoner: free to conduct his business throughout the city, but ever in fear of torture or death should authorities suspect that he has reverted to Judaism. Meanwhile, his estranged daughter, Gessica, now a mother, is slowly realizing that even a...
Venice, 1601: Twelve years after the forced conversion portrayed in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", an elderly Shylock lives as a strange prisoner: free to conduct his business throughout the city, but ever in fear of torture or death should authorities suspect that he has reverted to Judaism. Meanwhile, his estranged daughter, Gessica, now a mother, is slowly realizing that even a willing convert to Catholicism is not free from suspicion -- suspicions that may affect even her daughter's prospects. The merchant prince, Antonio, over-extended with his Christian creditors and unable to borrow from Jewish lenders, hatches a plan with his legal advisor, Portia, and Gessica's husband, Lorenzo, to seize the remains of Shylock's fortune in order to finance a new trade venture. Having learned long ago that Antonio is not a man to be trusted and that Venice is not a city predisposed to give him justice, Shylock has been planning to escape so that he might live his last years in peace. Meanwhile, Gessica is drawn into the commercial conflict between her husband's friends and her father, and a bombastic Spanish ship captain in Antonio's employ seems willing to cut a deal with both sides.
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The Conversos of Venice

Recommended by

  • Asher Wyndham:
    20 Jul. 2015
    A great play for community colleges and universities or theatres that want to produce a historical drama that is not written by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. A captivating continuation of the Shylock story that is both comedic and tragic, with lines that capture the grandiose personality of each character. Great parts for actresses (esp. Gessica) and actors (esp. Shylock and the hilarious Capitano and Launcelot). The playwright's knowledge of the period, the alliterative power of the poetry, the rhetorical strategizing, the spectacle, the largeness of the world on the page and (hopefully) the stage is...breathtaking.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Small Theatre Alliance of Boston
    ,
    2011