Lamb’s 20th Anniversary

Christopher Moore returns to talk about his wise comic novel Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in this year of our Lord 2022. Chris discusses how wanted to create a tale of friendship and ended up getting taught in divinity schools; the rewards of swinging for the fences and wading through Thomas Aquinas; getting the facts and theology right when not getting it wrong on purpose; the secret of what actually went on during Jesus’ rumspringa; the challenge of not having conversational Aramaic; and constant vigilance against the ever-present danger of losing your reader. (Length 29:57)

Where We Belong

Madeline Sayet’s one-woman show Where We Belong tells the story of her journey from discovering Shakespeare as a child to studying him in England and directing him (and others, and opera) around the world. Madeline is a director, educator, and writer, a member of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, and she discusses her play’s origins; how different audiences react to it; how Shakespeare became a part of her normal childhood fairy-tale world; the sometimes thorny challenge of adapting personal relationships to accommodate the art; an uncomfortable reminder about how history works; possible sequel titles; how everybody wants to be in the play now that it’s a success; the art – and importance – of loving a thing and still being able to criticize a thing; and how theatre can also be good medicine. Where We Belong ran at the Goodman Theatre and will play Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in August 2022, Seattle Repertory Theatre and New York’s Public Theatre in the Fall of 2022, and Portland Center Stage and Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2023. (PHOTO: Madeline Sayet in Where We Belong. Photo by Liz Lauren.) (Length 21:33)

Celebrating Anne Hathaway

(No, not that one.) This weekend is the 399th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway, and to commemorate the occasion we talk to Dr. Katherine Scheil, author of Imagining Shakespeare’s Wife: The Afterlife of Anne Hathaway. Dr. Scheil discusses what drew her to Hathaway as a subject for study; how Hathaway is almost always portrayed in relationship to Shakespeare; what to make of the “second best bed” she received in Shakespeare’s will; the wonderful democratization and liberating opportunities of biofiction; how sex is frequently the default source of Shakespeare’s “inspiration;” a discussion of the relative merits of the films Shakespeare In Love and All Is True, the TV series Upstart Crow, and the novel Hamnet; and ultimately, how biofiction can be a more insightful way of understanding historical figures, and even how sitcoms can reveal greater story and character nuance than drama. (Length 25:59)

Jasper’s ‘Early Riser’

New York Times best-selling author Jasper Fforde returns to talk about his new novel Early Riser, a comic thriller set in a world very much like ours — except here, humans hibernate. What happens during the cruel winter months is the subject of this gripping and funny book, and Jasper reveals much about the process of creating it, his ongoing fascination with all things Welsh, how he accepts narrative dares and creates Ffordian Middle Earths, why and when he has to spread textual jam, his ongoing effort to make ‘scribernation’ happen, the promise of sequels, and how creativity is both the angel and the devil sitting on a writer’s shoulders. Also featuring Jasper’s unsolicited (and totally delightful) praise for the Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show (available on Audible and iTunes)! Calling all editorial sherpas! (Length 25:25)

Episode 600! American Theatre Magazine

For this milestone episode, we talk to the journal of record for the American theatre industry: American Theatre magazine. Managing Editor Russell Dembin and Associate Editor Allison Considine discuss the magazine’s origins, its operations, its expansion, and its impact. Featuring changing publishing schedules, expanded focus, evolving trends, exciting productions, bold new work, new takes on old work, challenges facing the industry, stepping up an online presence, shout-outs to Senior Editor Diep Tran, theme issues, changing job descriptions, ideas for possible future projects, a special appearance from Most Produced Playwright Who Isn’t William Shakespeare Lauren Gunderson, and above all, creating a go-to destination for all theatre practitioners — and fans. (Length 22:21)

Episode 596. Nicole Galland’s D.O.D.O.

Friend of the podcast, novelist Nicole Galland (I, Iago), has co-authored (with Neal Stephenson) a wonderful sci-fi time-travel thriller-comedy called The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “a high-stakes techno-farce with brains and heart!” D.O.D.O. is now out in paperback so Nicole returns to talk about the book’s creation, the difficulties of describing your characters, how she met Neal Stephenson, the burden of having too many interests in too many places, the rarity of authorial rebranding, rewriting during the editing stage, how the authors’ writing partnership informed the relationship between the two main characters, some tantalizing clues about the sequel, and how one transitions from an historical to a sci-fi novelist. (Length 18:53)

Episode 555. The Improv Nerd

”Jimmy Carrane is an improviser, teacher, and creator/host of “The Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane” Podcast, and last week he sat down with me on a beautiful Chicago morning to chat with me about his improv and performing philosophies. Featuring great teaching tools, the value of details and specificity vs. frantic Read more…

Episode 538. Falcon Theatre Fools

”The Falcon Theatre is producing its own non-RSC production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged), so April Fools Day seems like the perfect time to meet the Falcon’s fools: Zehra Fazal, Marc Ginsburg, and Mark Jacobson (pictured). Hear them chat about the challenges of grounding outlandish behavior, the fun of running around like Read more…

Episode 502. Directing Richard III

Jessica Thebus directed Richard III for Chicago’s Gift Theatre in the spring of 2016, an amazing production that starred Michael Patrick Thornton (right) in the title role. Jessica talks about the impetus for directing this famously challenging play and reveals where the drama gets most focused, the secrets to fantastic fight choreography, comparisons Read more…

Episode 500! Playwright Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig (right) is the prolific American comic playwright responsible for such Tony- and Olivier-award winning shows as Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, Shakespeare In Hollywood, Baskerville, and almost two dozen more plays and musicals that have been produced in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. For this special milestone episode, Ken talks about his work, his process, his new book How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, future projects, the importance of being in touch with Twelfth Night, the difference between farce and muscular comedy, the contrast between prose and poetry, the power of comic engines, and the all-important value of romance. (Length 31:22)

Episode 493. Good Tickle Brain

”Mya Gosling is the creator and artist of Good Tickle Brain, the definitive three-panel stick-figure Shakespearean web comic, and we got to chat about Shakespeare and comics (and musicals and Gilbert & Sullivan) when our paths recently crossed at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Mya explains her comic’s origin story and discusses early Read more…

Episode 490. Shakespeare And Burlesque

”Richard Schoch is Professor of Drama at Queen’s University in Belfast, and the author of “Not Shakespeare: Bardolatry and Burlesque in the 19th Century.” Richard was working at the Folger Shakespeare Library during our first week there and wrote a blog post about the history of Shakespearean parody. Spoiler alert: The Reduced Shakespeare Read more…

Episode 485. The ‘Curtain Call’

”Long-time RSC actor John Schwab and photographer Matt Humphrey have created the beautiful new book Curtain Call, an invaluable collection of photographs and interviews celebrating the amazing variety of London theatre in the year 2015. The book is both a handsome collectible and an invaluable piece of theatre journalism, and John talks about Read more…

Episode 472. Preserving Your Parents

”With the passing of his father Kent (left) on Christmas Eve, producer and host Austin Tichenor urges listeners to interview and document their parents while you still have them. You’ll be glad you preserved their stories and experiences for posterity, and since we all have microphones on our phones, there’s no excuse! Featuring mixed Read more…

Episode 458. Captain Kirk’s Autobiography

”Writer David Goodman (Enterprise, Futurama, Family Guy, Federation: The First 150 Years) discusses his fantastic new book The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, which he “edited” from the actual papers of Starfleet’s greatest captain. Featuring much dot-connecting and blank-filling, writing in voices, carrying on traditions and storylines established fifty years ago, woefully Read more…

Episode 437. Back Room Shakespeare

”Chicago actor and now author Samuel Taylor chronicles the origins of the Back Room Shakespeare Project in his new book My Life With The Shakespeare Cult. Part cri de coeur, part call to arms, Sam’s book is a brief and inspiring manifesto about restoring life to Shakespeare performance. Featuring the Read more…

Episode 435. Nerd Noir Novelist

”Ian Tregillis has quite possibly created a new genre with his recent novel Something More Than Night, a murder mystery detective novel with an angel protagonist set in Thomas Aquinas’ vision of Heaven. Ian talks about his supportive writers group (featuring a promising newcomer named George R. R. Martin), the struggle of describing Read more…

Episode 429. 2014’s Top Podcasts

”Only two months late comes our second annual round-up of the Top Ten most downloaded episodes of the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast in 2014. Featuring not-so-surprising appearances by the UK cast of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged); conversations with Mike McShane, Adrian Scarborough, and Sara Gmitter; fantastic Alan Partridge Read more…

Episode 428. The Artist Rolls

”Have you ever wanted to analyze an artist’s work through random roles of a twenty-sided Dungeons & Dragons die? Of course not! But that’s exactly what Jamie Gower and Sean Mitchell do on their podcast The Artist Rolls. This week we hear excerpts and outtakes from their full interview with Read more…

Episode 371. University Theatre Degrees

”As school resumes for the winter session, we talk to Stephen Skiles, Director of Theatre at Xavier University in Ohio. Stephen was part of the team that created Xavier’s brand-new (as of 2013) BA Degree in Theatre and shares with us the experience and philosophy that went into developing the curriculum; the Read more…

Episode 370. Meeting Mike McShane

Let’s ring in the new year with an old friend! Improv legend (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and TV (Doctor Who; Brotherly Love) and film (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; A Bug’s Life) veteran Mike McShane talks about his wildly eventful life and shares tales about the differences between improv Read more…

Episode 368. The Cincinnati Playhouse

”Blake Robison talks about the wonderful Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and his ongoing journey as its new(ish) Artistic Director. Featuring the challenges of directing and administrating, the differences between directing and acting, the benefits (for us) of performing here for the third time (the first two times were in Read more…

Episode 366. Serpent of Venice

”Pocket of Dog Snogging returns! New York Times Best-Selling author Christopher Moore discusses his Shakespeare-inspired comic novels Fool (a retelling of King Lear from the jester’s point of view) and his latest The Serpent of Venice, which combines Othello, Merchant of Venice, Edgar Allan Poe, and a sea monster. Featuring Read more…

Episode 362. Design For ‘Comedy’

”A production manager’s job is never done. Phil Rundle from Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park talks about the challenges of his job, which right now includes designing the set for the world premiere of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged), and shares with us surprising complications, interesting thematic elements, creative juggling, Read more…

Episode 356. Meeting The King

”We find cool stories wherever we go and sometimes we’re able to turn the microphone on to capture and share them. This week, Reed Martin talks to his student Kathy Myers, who describes the times she met Elvis Presley as a (way-too) young girl. Featuring amazing Elvis impressions, good smoking hygiene, Read more…

Episode 351. A.D.D Comedy Podcast

”Our month-long block of comedy-themed podcasts continues this week with a conversation with Improv guru, performer, teacher, improviser’s improviser and RSC alum David Razowsky, who hosts (with Ian Foley) the A.D.D. Comedy Podcast, where he talks to some of the most interesting folks working in comedy today: Folks like Stephen Read more…

Episode 350. Workshopping The ‘Comedy’

”LIVE! from Stone’s Sports Bar & Lounge comes this lively conversation with actors Dodds Delzell, Dan Saski, and Chad Yarish, the cast of the workshop production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged). Featuring rehearsal reports, the advantages of ongoing artistic relationships, sky-high expectations, an excerpt from the show, the challenges of day jobs, Read more…

Episode 349. Rocking The Casbah

”Journalist and author Robin Wright talks about her book Rock The Casbah: Rage and Rebellion in the Muslim World, which chronicles youth-inspired Islamic revolts against autocrats and extremism using such pop-cultural weapons as music, comedy, and theatre, plus even comic books and theme parks. Featuring pop-culture political flash points , hip-hop Islam, Read more…

Episode 347. High School Censorship

”Blogger, arts consultant, former theatre executive and now theatrical activist Howard Sherman talks about attempts to silence high school theatre productions across the country, and the growing efforts to respond appropriately and effectively. Featuring the threat of teenage engagement, unintended consequences of the power of theatre, approved high school adaptations of certain Read more…

Episode 338. An Actor’s Wife

Actor’s wife (and former RSC stage manager) Rose Scarborough talks to other actor’s wives (and husbands) for her ongoing archival project “An Actor’s Wife For Me: The Changing Role of the Actor’s Wife – 1950s to the Present Day” — and now talks to us about talking to them. Featuring the lot Read more…

Episode 324. Appreciating Stephen King

”With all due respect to Annie Wilkes, reduced King scholar and film critic Katherine Naylor and I are big fans of Stephen King, so we sat down recently to discuss our favorite books, recurring themes, underrated novels, and abandoning pretension. Featuring chilling memories of reading The Stand, divergent opinions on The Read more…

Episode 323. Lovers and Scholars

”Benjamin & Catherine Woodring are graduate students at Harvard University, teaching Shakespeare under the auspices of Professor Stephen J. Greenblatt, author of the New York Times best-selling Will in the World. For this special Valentine’s Day podcast, Ben and Katy talk about their love for Shakespeare – and each other – Read more…

Episode 319. Arranging Our Flights

”RSC Company Manager Alli Bostedt adds another title to her growing list – Travel Agent – and describes what it’s like getting us and our stuff all over the world. Featuring recommended travel websites, tricks we’ve learned over the years, the challenges of moving people and equipment in a post-9/11 world, and Read more…

Episode 318. Props For ‘Homeland’

”Gillian Albinski is the Prop Master for the hit TV show Homeland, and takes us behind the scenes of what it’s like to set the scene and create all the stuff you see and the actors handle. Featuring what constitutes a prop, the advantages of television over film (and vice versa), Read more…

Episode 315. Our New E-Book

“Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor discuss their new e-book How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better), their irreverent comic memoir (originally published in paperback as The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Westminster/John Knox Press) and talk about how, while writing their whimsical look at the Bible, they find their friendship Read more…

Episode 312. Autobiography of Iago

Novelist and former theatre dramaturg Nicole Galland has written I, Iago, a novel which tells the story of Shakespeare’s famous villain and the events of the play Othello, but from Iago’s point of view. Nicole talks about her tragic, comic, and crazily compelling riff on both the familiar story and Shakespeare’s famous villain, and Read more…

Episode 311. In San Diego

”The cast of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) in San Diego — Michael Faulkner, Mick Orfe, and Dustin Sullivan — talk about returning to San Diego Repertory Theatre and how the Christmas show differs from the RSC’s other shows. Featuring natural disasters, the glory of the coveted Scenie, some minor Read more…

Episode 306. Returning To ‘America’

”The Complete History of America (abridged) premiered in 1993 and ran at the Criterion Theatre in London from 1996 to 2005, and has toured recently around the US and to Singapore and Hong Kong. For this 2012 tour of the show’s “Special Election Edition”, Dustin Sullivan returns with original cast Read more…

Episode 304. Welcome Back Dustin

”Dustin Sullivan, beloved veteran of previous RSC tours (Books in the US and Ireland in 2007; America in 2008), returns this fall to perform in both the Special Election Edition of The Complete History of America (abridged) and The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged). Dustin tells us about his time on the national tour of Little House on Read more…

Episode 303. The UnCollege Movement

”It’s September and the kids have gone back to school…well, most kids have gone back to school. Young RSC fan Dale Stephens is the founder of the UnCollege movement and the author of Hacking Your Education, a manifesto about owning your own choices and forging your own path. Join us in Read more…

Episode 297. Adam Long Returns

”Founding RSC member Adam Long returns (for the length of this podcast, anyway) to tell us what he’s up to these days and share a burrito. Featuring backstage gossip from Mike the Knight and The Amazing World of Gumball, authentic details of the Adam Long Origin Story, the risks of Read more…

Episode 295. Star Trek Conventions

Elizabeth Dennehy, who played Lt. Commander Shelby on Star Trek: The Next Generation, describes what it’s like attending sci-fi/fantasy cons around the world. Featuring behind-the-scenes details from the pivotal episodes The Best of Both Worlds (Parts 1 & 2), convention-goer categorization, questions about Charmed one is better off not asking, impertinent observations Read more…

Episode 291. Our Lighting Designer

”Richard G. Jones has designed the lights for productions on Broadway, in the West End, and in arenas all over the world. Now he squanders his talents on us, designing the lights for our UK production of The Complete World of Sports (abridged). Featuring the various challenges of lighting John Read more…

Episode 286. The West Wing

Comedy author and West Wing nerd Gary Rudoren joins us this week to remember Aaron Sorkin‘s television classic The West Wing. Featuring the prescience of certain story lines, behind-the-scenes gossip from the first season’s twelfth episode “He Shall, From Time To Time”, the mysterious connections between all the various television shows Read more…

Episode 285. Oklahoma City Rep

”There ain’t nothin’ like an Oklahoma hello! We made our Sooner State debut last weekend at Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, and Founding Artistic Director Donald Jordan told us about the history of the company, the consequences of a misspent youth, the advantages of being old and foolish, the benefits of Read more…

Episode 284. The Widow’s Voice

”For this Mother’s Day, we remember all mothers, even the ones who are gone. Every Sunday, Matthew Croke blogs about his experiences as a widower and father at Widow’s Voice, a website dedicated to examining “the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person.” Featuring Read more…

Episode 283. Freud’s Last Session

”Actor Mark Dold talks about his surprising journey in the role of C. S. Lewis in the long-running off-Broadway play Freud’s Last Session. Featuring the benefits of always saying yes, the mixed blessings of undergraduate training programs, the unimportance of looking like the guy you’re playing, and the value of hours Read more…

Episode 280. Fantasy Sports Explained

”Sportswriter, columnist, and nerd’s nerd AJ Mass returns to talk about his book How Fantasy Sports Explains The World: What Pujols and Peyton Can Teach Us About Wookiees and Wall Street. Featuring wisdom from the likes of Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jane Espenson, the importance of shared metaphors, illusions of Read more…

Episode 270. Time Travel Tales

In honor of Groundhog Day last week, we swap favorite time travel stories with fellow nerd AJ Mass that run the gamut from Ray Bradbury, Jack Finney, and Stephen Fry to Eliza Dushku and Ashton Kucher. Featuring nods to precision, romance, 12 monkeys, gateway drugs, literary detectives, time-traveling Irish playwrights, open and closed Read more…

Episode 267. Mick’s Alarming Premieres

”There’s never a dull moment when Mick Orfe gives his first performance in an RSC show. Join us for dramatic tales of kidney stones, fire alarms, lost luggage, student matinees, delayed flights, and late arrivals. Featuring a special appearance from UK Media Superstar Lauren Laverne and reassuring reasons why there Read more…

Episode 262. Talking About ‘Christmas’

”After every Thursday night performance, Merrimack Repertory Theatre invites the audience to stick around afterwards and talk to the actors or writers or directors. In the case of our performance of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) last week, the audience got all three. Featuring information on costumes you’ll need to Read more…

Episode 259. Backstage at ‘Spiderman’

Veteran actor Ken Marks talks about creating the role of Uncle Ben in the infamous musical Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. Ken talks about the dangers and the adventure of not only surviving the huge technical spectacle that is the physical production of Spiderman, but the creation of the musical as well. Featuring important backstage safety tips and a special holiday appearance from jazz guitarist Eric Essix. (Length 19:55)

Episode 257. New Victory Programming

”The New Victory Theatre in New York City presents fantastic theatre for all ages that is daring, challenging, entertaining, and (most importantly) affordable. Director of Programming Mary Rose Lloyd talks about the kind of work she sees all over the world, how she’s able to bring it to New York, the Read more…

Episode 255. Finding The Line

”Comedians walk the line of appropriateness all the time, but sometimes the line changes. We discuss the (surprisingly few) changes we made to make The Complete World of Sports (abridged) appropriate for our run at the family-friendly New Victory Theatre. Featuring serious conversations about immature euphemisms, chains of responsibility, and how Read more…

Episode 251. After It’s Written

”What does a playwright do after the script is completed? We have no idea. But we know what WE do with our “Complete (abridged)” scripts after they’re written. Featuring the value of opinions from the right people, the value of casting the right people, and the value of knowing when Read more…