Since its pass-the-hat origins in 1981, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has created ten world-renowned stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots, and numerous radio pieces, all of which have been performed, seen, and heard the world over. The company’s itinerary has included stops off-Broadway, at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and Montreal’s famed Just For Laughs Festival, as well as performances in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Singapore and Bermuda, plus countless civic and university venues throughout the USA, the UK, and Europe.
In 2016, in honor of the company’s 35th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the RSC premieres its tenth stage show, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC. In 2013 the “Bad Boys of Abridgment” unveiled The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) –to critical and commercial acclaim at both Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Merrimack Repertory Theatre, as well as on national tours of the the USA and UK. The Complete World of Sports (abridged)opened in 2010 at Merrimack Rep and after touring the USA and UK, ran at the Arts Theatre in London during the 2012 London Olympics. In 2011 came the world premiere of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)which became Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s best-selling holiday show ever, and the third-best-selling show in MRT’s history and also enjoyed a successful run at San Diego Repertory Theatre as well as multiple tours across the USA.
Shakespeare’s Birthday Month continues with Part Two with our conversation with Dr Edel Semple from University College in Cork, Ireland, and Dr. Ronan Hatfull from the University of Warwick, talking about Shakespearean Biofiction onstage, screen, and this week on the page, too. We share love for both Hamnet the novel by Maggie O’Farrell and Hamnet the play (by Irish companies Dead Centre and the Abbey Theatre); brushes with greatness (in the forms of playwright Edward Bond and comedian Eddie Izzard); and we discuss all the big questions: how intimidating it can be putting words into Shakespeare’s mouth; how biofiction can speculate realistically or fantastically about where Shakespeare’s genius comes from; whether Shakespeare is, in fact, worth it; how Shakespeare compares to Leontes in The Winter’s Tale; how we can avoid spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; what’s amazing about Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will; and, amazingly, the good things in Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous. (Pictured, clockwise from top left: Laurie Davidson as the title character in the miniseries Will; Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell; Austin Tichenor as Richard Burbage in Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will at Northlight Theatre, photo by Liz Lauren; and Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare in All Is True.) (Length 22:31)
Dr Edel Semple (bottom right, above) from University College in Cork, Ireland, and Dr. Ronan Hatfull (bottom left) from the University of Warwick convened a seminar entitled “Shakespearean Biofiction on the Stage and Screen” for this year’s annual conference of the Shakespeare Association of America, where we discussed the how and why of, among other things, we made William Shakespeare a character in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged). Edel and Ronan discuss how the seminar went and talk about the similarities between academic seminars and RSC performances; how incredible planning goes into making things casual and relaxed; what red leather pants really signifies (in both their American or British meaning); how adaptation is also a form of biofiction; shout-outs to all the contributors; layers of irony; what our version of Shakespeare might look like as played by teenagers; how the Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow is and isn’t like Homer Simpson; climbing up on high horses; and, as always — the importance of the craic! (Length 28:57)
Dramaturg Kate Pitt joins us for a deep dive into the creation of the script for Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel), on which she cast her dramaturgical magic (and which we’ll finally get to tour once this stupid pandemic is over). Kate discusses HBA’s intertextual conversation with Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, and its biofictional elements, and reveals the identity of the most confusing Hamlet ever; how a prequel can (and should) reveal insights into Shakespeare’s play; how old Hamlet is; the importance of double confirmation; how both Ophelia and Hamlet have All. The. Feels; the value of deploying random skills; the question of how old Hamlet is, anyway; how the gravedigger is an unreliable narrator; the struggle of theater as a career and what to say about it to your kids about it; and finally, possible spoilers (especially if you know anything at all about the career of UK comedian Tommy Cooper). Plus: jokes for everyone! Poster Art by Lar DeSouza. (Length 32:01)
Want to experience all the wonder and joys of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic but only have about ten minutes? You’re in luck!
A Little Dickens: The Complete Christmas Carol (abridged) (complete with 46 second encore) is an audio production written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, first heard on Public Radio International in 1995, and produced by Connie Blaszczyk, Peter John Marquez, and the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
Free for the whole family!! Or just for you alone!! Just click the Play Triangle below.
From all of us to all of you…Happy Merry Chrismakwanukahhanzukah! (song not included)
Spend an Afternoon with The Remote Shakespeare Company!
A One-Day Only Live Streaming YouTube & Facebook Event
Sunday, July 12, 2020 – Noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/8pm UK
Please join the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Reston Center Stage on Sunday, July 12, 2020 at Noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/5pm UK for a remote live-streaming afternoon of subversive and joyful entertainment: The Reduced Shakespeare Company in An Afternoon with the Remote Shakespeare Company. (CLICK THROUGH FOR LINKS WHERE TO WATCH!)
The authors of POP-UP SHAKESPEARE! Join Jennie, Reed, and Austin TODAY, June 20, 2020, as they chat about the creation of their “stunning” (Huffington Post) illustrated book Pop-Up Shakespeare. They’ll also take your questions! Find them on the RSC Facebook page here. And the RSC YouTube page here. 11am PST / 1pm CST / 2 EST / 7pm BST