Netta Walker’s ‘Homecoming’

Netta Walker, one of the stars of All-American: Homecoming and a stage actor who spent time in Chicago, discusses how her stage experience compares with her TV experience, and, amazingly, how one of her early formative experiences was with the Reduced Shakespeare Company (!). FEATURING: her debut on the stage of Lincoln Center; where she got her early professional experience; being blessed with supportive parents; the value of seeing Shakespeare performed (even by us) before studying it as literature; being part of the original cast of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley; how to avoid the stress of trying to guess what a director wants in an audition; and where she gets her (for want of a better word) confidence. (Length 16:07) 

Episode 611. Burbage to Burbage

Kevin Kenerly is a 22-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is currently playing Richard Burbage in Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will (after having played Burbage in Shakespeare in Love in 2017). Kevin talks with Austin Tichenor (who played Burbage in the Northlight Theatre production in 2017 and blogged about it for the Folger Shakespeare Library) about his approach to playing Shakespeare’s leading man, how he first came to Shakespeare, how the role of Burbage resembles Cyrano de Bergerac, inspirational teacher shoutouts, impressive instruments, the magic of different interpretations, a love for language, the pleasure of needing no clue, Michael Caine aphorisms, how theatre sleeps when we do, and ultimately how Shakespeare and microbrew prove to be an unbeatable combination. Featuring a special appearance from Lauren Gunderson herself! (Pictured: David Kelly as Henry Condell, Kevin Kenerly as Richard Burbage, and Jeffrey King as John Heminges. From the Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, directed by Christopher Liam Moore.) (Length 22:56)

Episode 601. More Lauren Gunderson

Playwright Lauren Gunderson continues the conversation we began with her last November 2017, talking about her amazing play The Book of Will, a valentine about the creation of the First Folio, the first collection of all (most) of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623. WARNING: This is a slightly spoiler-y conversation (our first spoiler-free conversation can be found here) but in it Lauren reveals the process of research, dramaturgy, and creation; and also discusses the value of preparing for loss; being present; the wonder of ephemera; Shakespeare’s amazing women (both onstage and off); practicing memory as an active thing; favorite brilliant actors; and the absolute magic of double-casting. Featuring a special appearance by Oregon Shakespeare Festival Executive Director Cynthia Rider. (Length 17:23) (Pictured: Cristofer Jean in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of The Book of Will. Photo by Jenny Graham)

Episode 583. Short Rehearsal Process

Jim Ortlieb and Gregory Linington, who played John Hemings and Henry Condell in the midwest premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will last fall of 2017, return to the RSC Podcast to discuss the challenges and rewards of a “reduced” rehearsal period. Over pizza and beer at Chicago’s Candelite restaurant, Jim and Gregory chat about being prepared but also staying open, similar-but-different approaches to the work, the liberating importance of “pre-hearsal”, the artistic value of pub time, the time-honored dilemma of religion vs entertainment, the subleties of defining character, the beauty of playing against the text, the gift of intimacy, and the values that constitute true “Chicago theatre.” (Pictured (left to right): Austin Tichenor, Jim Ortlieb, and Gregory Linington recording this podcast live at the Candlelite in Chicago, while Dana Black hovers.) (Length 27:32) 

Episode 573. Heminges & Condell

In her new play The Book of Will, Lauren Gunderson imagines what Shakespeare’s fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell had to accomplish to publish the First Folio, the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays. In the Northlight Theatre production in Chicago, actors Jim Ortlieb (a veteran of Broadway, TV, and film) and Gregory Linington (whose stage, film, and TV credits across the country include 12 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland) play John and Henry and share insights into what it’s like to create these roles. Featuring research, textual clues, King’s Men actors defined by NBA analogies, the difference between real life and art, the anticipation of 19th century actor/managers, the trick of getting across information, and the absolute fundamental Disney-related difference between these two literary saviors. (Length 22:27) (Jim Ortlieb as John Heminges (left), Dana Black as his daughter Alice, and Gregory Linington as Henry Condell in the Northlight Theatre production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will. Photo by Liz Lauren.)

Episode 570. Book Of Will

Director Jessica Thebus (Richard III, In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story) returns to the podcast to talk about the midwest premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, which she’s directing at the Northlight Theatre in Chicago. Jessica talks about her approach to this play, and from where she draws her certainties and insights. Featuring surprisingly little historical fudging, labors of love, illuminating paths, avoiding traps, staying ahead of the audience, and celebrating the creation of a thing that might easily never have happened. (Length 17:51) (l-r, Richard Burbage (Austin Tichenor), Alice Heminges (Dana Black), John Heminges (Jim Ortlieb), and Henry Condell (Gregory Linington) from the Northlight Theatre production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will. Photo by Liz Lauren.)

Episode 569. Playwright Lauren Gunderson

Playwright Lauren Gunderson is the most produced playwright in America, and has been near the top of that list for several years now. Her play Silent Sky was recently produced at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, she’s a resident playwright at Marin Theatre Company, she’s written a Shakespeare Cycle consisting of three Read more…