To Decolonize Shakespeare

Nicolette Bethel, the co-founder of Shakespeare in Paradise, in The Bahamas, talk about the process of decolonizing Shakespeare in parts of the world where Shakespeare’s been weaponized as a tool of imperialism and a symbol of “superior” – meaning, white and English – culture. This second part of our conversation (part one can be found here) features discussion about the complicated symbolism of Caliban and Prospero; shifting the narrative of Shakespeare in the Caribbean; the frustration of external validation; how The Bahamas is slightly to the side of the typical Caribbean colonial experience; the number of people who actually travel to Nassau to see Bahamian theater (SPOILER ALERT: very few); how we look forward to larger international gatherings; and the trick of taking advantage of fantastic opportunities that are also huge challenges. (FOR FURTHER READING: see “Decolonizing Theater” by Annalisa Dias and Madeline Sayet. Artwork by Mya Gosling, aka GoodTickleBrain. Used by permission.) (Length 16:45)

Running The Gamut

The Gamut Theatre in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, hosted the 2022 Shakespeare Theatre Association conference last weekend, and artistic director Clark Nicholson sat down to talk about the theater’s origins, its evolution, and how they run many different operations under one umbrella. Featuring adventures in real estate; changing one kind of sacred space into another; the challenges and rewards of making much out of little; dealing with onstage Egos; the challenges of wearing many different hats; and – most importantly – how children’s theater is the new vaudeville in terms of giving actors the chops to handle any kind of audience. Plus! A special tribute to playwright Russell Lees, who died on January 4, 2022. Just a couple of pedantic jerks sitting around talking… (Length 20:05) (Pictured: Melissa and Clark Nicholson, executive and artistic directors, respectively, of the The Gamut Theatre in Harrisburg, PA. Photo by Rick Snizik.)

Using Shakespeare’s Violence

Heidi Schmidt, assistant director of outreach and resident dramaturg for Colorado Shakespeare Festival, talks about Colorado Shakes’ program (now sadly on hiatus until the end of the COVID pandemic) for bringing Shakespeare into schools and using his characters and storylines as teachable moments. Featuring the dangers (and value) of the escalating pranks in Twelfth Night; the challenge and power of interdepartmental collaborations; the difference between good behavior and powerful drama; how companies gain both empathy and credibility; training actors to be teaching artists; ways of reframing Romeo and Juliet; fantastic quotes; the importance of under-promising and over-delivering; and the responsibility of giving young people (of any age) tools for dealing with crisis. (Length 20:47)

Globetrotting Shakespeare’s Tempest

Brave new world, indeed: Globetrotting Shakespeare is presenting a live and virtual performance of The Tempest on Saturday, July 11, 2020, featuring multiple actors in four different countries and at least six time zones from Shakespeare Napa Valley, Shakespeare by the Sea, Prague Shakespeare Company, Atlanta Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, and Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Directors Jennifer King (l) and Suzanne Dean (r) discuss how the project came together; how they see challenges as opportunities to create relationships and communities through Shakespeare; how they’re seizing this opportunity to Rethink, Reframe, and Resume; the unfortunate problems with technology; how a disruptive pandemic has its own tempestuous qualities; and how we must continue finding (despite sometimes losing) our humanity in crisis. (Length 19:27)

689. Seven Stages Shakespeare

Dan Beaulieu and Christine Penney are the co-founders and directors of the Seven Stages Shakespeare Company, New Hampshire’s only year-round dedicated to performing the works of Shakespeare or pieces that illuminate him. Seven Stages engages with Shakespeare in a variety of contexts, including performances, readings, workshops, and podcasts, and as Christine and Dan explain the company’s mission and objectives, they talk about swimming where the fish are, such as in in parks, bars, theaters (sometimes), barns, and warehouses; give shout-outs to influential professors; reveal how musical theatre performers are frequently excellent Shakespeareans; celebrate Shakespeare with a morning zoo/sports talk-radio energy; compare Brooklyn neighborhoods; and finally — beautifully — share what happens when you get to the sixth and seventh stages of Shakespeare. Recorded LIVE at the Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference in Dallas, January 2020. (Length 20:23)

Episode 580. Redeeming Time Project

“I’ll so offend to make offense a skill,
Redeeming Time when men think least I will.” — William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I
Kate Powers is the creator and artistic director of the Redeeming Time Project, a program which uses Shakespeare to effect positive change for the incarcerated and hopefully, eventually, the formerly incarcerated. Featuring opportunities to practice empathy, gateway drugs (in a good way!), overcoming language barriers, tools for self-reflection, dismantling preconceived ideas, a special appearance by the Q Brothers, and, as always, showing us what it means to be human. Recorded LIVE at the 2018 Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference. (Length 23:46)

Episode 579. Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries

Anne Morgan is the literary manager of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, which has created the “Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries” project, a ground-breaking undertaking to discover, develop, and produce a new canon of 38 plays inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare’s originals. Anne sat down at this year’s Shakespeare Theatre Association conference, hosted by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, to discuss the origins of this very exciting project, its ultimate scope, and what’s involved with administrating this wide-ranging, blind-reading, open-application process. Featuring outstanding opportunities for emerging or unrepresented playwrights, the power of embracing Shakespeare’s original staging practices, the importance and value of learning from your actors and learning from your audience, the removal of unconscious bias, and the important difference between dramaturgs and dramaturds. Recorded LIVE at the 2018 Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference. (Length 17:45)

Episode 578. Shakespeare In Prague

Back in October of 2017, we had the great good fortune of visiting Prague Shakespeare Company in the beautiful Czech Republic, and we got to speak with Jared Doreck, Steve Josephson, and John Boston, the cast of PSC’s production of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged). Featuring expat adventures, working with Ray Bradbury, bilingual productions of The Winter’s Tale, crazy performance schedules, multiple casting in repertory, playing in Mozart’s footsteps, getting to play the coveted role of Tiberio, bows that go on forever, and the craziness of completing Shakespeare’s entire canon in a single year — including Shakespeare’s long lost first play! Recorded LIVE at Prague’s famous Cafe Louvre. (Length 20:45)

Episode 552. Director Christopher Edwards

Christoper V. Edwards is directing this summer’s non-RSC production of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and he talks to us about how he got the job and how rehearsals are going (it opens July 29). He also talks about his new gig as Artistic Director of the Actors Shakespeare Project in Boston, and how he interprets LongLostShakes, doubling and tripling actors, the differences between LongLostShakes and The Complete Works…, mutual friends The Q Brothers, playing with language, shout-outs to Boston, opportunities to have conversations with Shakespeare, and, most importantly, the significant ways in which William Shakespeare is a rabid squirrel. (Length 25:16)

Episode 545. Prague Shakespeare Company

Guy Roberts, the artistic director of Prague Shakespeare Company, talks about how the company was founded and how Shakespeare is bringing nations and peoples together. Featuring important Spinal Tap influences, the challenge of completing the canon, comparisons between LongLostShakes and The Complete Works…, revelations about the so-called “coast of Bohemia”, an excerpt from the Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show, echoes of Much Ado About Nothing, and the value of making people laugh. Recorded live at the Shakespeare Theatre Association. (Length 15:30) 

Episode 532. Shakespeare & Trump

How should / would / will William Shakespeare respond to a character like President Trump? We talk with Shakespeare artists and administrators Kate Powers, Amy Wratchford, Mya Gosling, and Mac MacDaniel about productions they’d like to see during the next four years that can shed some light on the current administration. Featuring the value of leaning in and telling truth to power, cruel things to do to Midsummer’s Snout, finding surprising resonance in unexpected places, and most excellent suggestions of Richard III, Richard II, King Lear, Hamlet, Coriolanus, and…hang on a bit…King John?! Recorded live at the Shakespeare Theatre Association conference at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore, Maryland. UPDATE: New York’s Public Theatre at the Delacorte in Central Park took this to a whole ‘nother level in June 2017, with its production of Julius Caesar in which the Roman leader is costumed to look exactly like Donald Trump. (Length 15:02)

Episode 529. Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”top” equal_height=”yes” parallax=”content-moving-fade” slider_images=”12004″ slider_animation=”fadeZoom” overlay_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.2)” css=”.vc_custom_1512315432253{background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat;background-size: contain !important;}” anchor_link=”top”][vc_column width=”2/3″ offset=”vc_col-lg-offset-2″][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”30″ color=”#2b272c”][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”50″ color=”rgba(166,115,81,0.6)”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” anchor_link=”intro” css=”.vc_custom_1451644722488{padding-top: 60px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]”Author, actor, director, and producer Ben Crystal tells us about his work researching, performing, and teaching Shakespeare’s words in their Read more…

Episode 454. Notre Dame Shakespeare

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”top” equal_height=”yes” parallax=”content-moving-fade” slider_images=”12004″ slider_animation=”fadeZoom” overlay_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.2)” css=”.vc_custom_1512315432253{background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat;background-size: contain !important;}” anchor_link=”top”][vc_column width=”2/3″ offset=”vc_col-lg-offset-2″][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”30″ color=”#2b272c”][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”50″ color=”rgba(166,115,81,0.6)”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” anchor_link=”intro” css=”.vc_custom_1451644722488{padding-top: 60px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]”Shakespeare comes in many forms at the University of Notre Dame, including Shakespeare at Notre Dame (Scott Jackson, Executive Director) and Actors Read more…

Episode 452. Beyond The Stage

Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor, and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival workshop cast members Chad Yarish, Dan Saski, and Teddy Spencer discuss the development of the new script William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) as part of NDSF’s “Beyond The Stage” series. Featuring questions from NDSF Artistic Director Grant Mudge and members of the audience, and discussion about the power of story, outrageous tales of audience participation, the challenges of working with two directors, the tricks of telling the truth and interacting with the public, inevitable comparisons, and the wonder of Shakespearean inspiration. (Length 22:18)

Episode 337. Professor Peter Holland

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”top” equal_height=”yes” parallax=”content-moving-fade” slider_images=”12004″ slider_animation=”fadeZoom” overlay_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.2)” css=”.vc_custom_1512315432253{background-position: center;background-repeat: no-repeat;background-size: contain !important;}” anchor_link=”top”][vc_column width=”2/3″ offset=”vc_col-lg-offset-2″][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”30″ color=”#2b272c”][rowshape type=”rowshape_4″ position=”bottom” height=”50″ color=”rgba(166,115,81,0.6)”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” anchor_link=”intro” css=”.vc_custom_1451644722488{padding-top: 60px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]Professor Peter Holland, the highly distinguished McNeel Family Professor of Shakespeare at Notre Dame University and the former director of Read more…