Dueling Chicago Hamlets

Chicago is lousy with Hamlets this spring/summer of 2019! Friend of the pod Samuel Taylor was involved with two of them – at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and with the Back Room Shakespeare Project, the latter of which Sam co-founded – and he discusses how all this activity supports and complements both companies and the Chicago theatre community. Featuring the beauty of electricity, fruitful studies in contrasts, asserting control over the laughs, being invested in turtle races, celebrating America’s Mike Nussbaum as the First Gravedigger, hearing about Hamlet being put on trial and Quicksilver Shakespeare actors pulling Hamlet’s characters out of a hat, continuing work on Hamlet’s Big Adventure (a prequel), the best possible scheduling of Titus Andronicus, the fascination of watching somebody doing something very difficult, and the wonder of understanding both the history of Shakespeare in Chicago and of Chicago Shakespeare. (Length 24:24) (Pictured: Mike Nussbaum as the First Gravedigger, in the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre production of Hamlet, directed by Barbara Gaines. Photo by Liz Lauren. Old Style Hamlet logo courtesy of the Back Room Shakespeare Project.)

Shakespeare Cult Blueprints

Samuel Taylor is the co-founder of the Back Room Shakespeare Project, the author of My Life with the Shakespeare Cult, and now its two-volume followup, Blueprints for a Shakespeare Cult, which explains how you too can embrace and replicate the work of the BRSP in your own city or country. Sam talks about BRSP’s origins and its twin inspirations, the glories of having very little rehearsal, the difference between being actual and real, replicating late-night whiskey-soaked debates and the more sober morning-after conversations, great taglines, the difference between good chaos and unhelpful chaos, how you can order your very own copy of Blueprints for a Shakespeare Cult by going to Kickstarter.com, and how you can be part of this growing international movement. (Length 26:54)

Episode 501. Thaddeus And Slocum

”Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure is a great new comedy by Kevin Douglas having its world premiere at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in an amazing production directed by J. Nicole Brooks and Krissy Vanderwarker. Kevin talks about the inspiration for this new work and reflects about a misspent youth Read more…

Episode 455. BackRoom Shakespeare Backstage

RSC Managing Partner Austin Tichenor performed with the Back Room Shakespeare Project in their production of The Merchant of Venice in July 2015 at the Radler Bar & Restaurant, and because his roles were relatively (thankfully) small, he roamed the backstage area interviewing actors and audience members about their preparation and expectations. Featuring an audio excerpt of the performance, similarities to tricksy hobbits, navigating the play’s racism and anti-semitism, finding the comedy, and the joys and terrors of performing in a riotous pit of bloodthirsty drunks. NOTE: BRSP co-founder Samuel Taylor (who coined the expression embroidered into a sampler by Kate Pitt) discusses the Project’s aims and philosophies in his book My Life With The Shakespeare Cult on RSC Podcast episode 437. (Length 23:57)

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…