Thing Of Darkness

What if Shakespeare didn’t die on April 23, 1616, and instead sailed to the New World? Novelist Allan Batchelder (the Immortal Treachery series) dives into speculative historical fiction to investigate this very question in his new novel This Thing of Darkness, which imagines the aging playwright creating a new family of outsiders amidst tension between their fellow English settles, the suspicious Powhatans, and a creature out of legend. Allan discusses his novel’s origins; how much of the historical record fuels his imagination; how he dives into and refutes various Authorship theories; how spite is a powerful motivator; how his experience as an actor, educator, former stand-up comedian and Girl Scout (!) influences his writing; how he navigates the dangers of writing from on-high; and the fun of positing a different kind of a relationship between William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. (Length 20:13)

Something Wonderful Now

Jeffrey Sweet’s Something Wonderful Right Away, an oral history of The Compass Players and Second City was first published in 1978 and it’s arguably still one of the definitive works about the rise of Chicago improvisation and maybe the defining actor training method of the second half of the 20th-century. Jeffrey discusses how the book came to be and talks about his encounters with such greats as Barbara Harris, Sheldon Patinkin, Jules Feiffer, Mike Nichols, Anne Meara, and Elaine May; how specific movies and plays revealed to him a specific style; reveals the joy and wonder of shared realities; what it means to have gotten a B from Martin Scorcese; gives a shout-out to oral history pioneer Studs Terkel; how poverty can be theatre’s friend; how the only two essential elements to theater are actors and audiences (not playwrights!); the devastating truth that playwriting is not literature; and finally, further proof that following your passion can frequently lead you to a career. (Length 20:45)

Episode 321. Bermuda Fun Facts

”We spent a far too-reduced number of days in Bermuda this week, performing The Complete World of Sports (abridged) for three large appreciative crowds as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts. We spent our too-reduced free time catching up on what we remembered from being here the Read more…

Episode 182. The Scottish Play

”Jennifer Lee Carell‘s new mystery Haunt Me Still (aka The Shakespeare Curse outside the US) deals with the legends surrounding the manuscript and supposed curse of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or as it’s known euphemistically in the theatre world, “the Scottish Play”. Featuring the difference between knowledge and superstition, Shakespeare’s fascination Read more…

Episode 72. The Authorship Question

”Don’t know your Bacons from your Marlowes, your deVeres from your Rutlands? Fear not. As William Shakespeare turns the big 4-4-4, we review the candidates some people consider the actual authors of Shakespeare’s plays. Featuring scandalous scholarship, an excerpt from Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired (abridged), and Read more…