Creating Hamlet’s Adventure

Authors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor talk about how they’ve created the definitive backstory to Shakespeare’s great tragedy in Hamlet’s Big Adventure (a prequel). Featuring homage to Tom Stoppard, excerpts from the new show’s promo video, the difficulty of hitting moving targets, how the script has evolved from its workshop with Shakespeare Napa Valley, previewing performances at Spreckels Performing Arts Center and the London in Tel Aviv Festival in Israel, fascinating by-products, eliminating framing devices, answering all the unanswered questions you’ve ever asked about the greatest play ever written, milking tragedy for laughs, seeing Shakespeare’s tragedy in a brand new way, and the value of asking important marketing questions early. (Length 23:44)

Other Famous Prequels

With Hamlet’s Big Adventure (a prequel) now being workshopped by Napa Valley College as part of its Emergence Festival, authors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor consider other famous prequels in different media, and hope for more of a Godfather II than a Star Wars Episodes 1-3 vibe. Featuring being part of a specific cultural moment (we see you, Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus); a form that Shakespeare probably invented; why sequels are more popular than prequels; wanting to know how we got here and discovering more about beloved characters; shout-outs to prequel authors Christopher Moore (Lamb; Fool), Nicole Galland (I, Iago), and Louis Bayard (Mr. Timothy; Courting Mr. Lincoln); creating a more challenging puzzle than “just” continuing the story; the desire to know how it all began; alternate titles (“Elsewhere in Elsinore”, anybody?); insight from Dr. Ronan Hatfull; absolutely no spoilers about Avengers Endgame; and finally a shout-out to Patton Oswalt’s great routine about eliminating certain disappointing prequels forever. (Length 20:21) (Jessica Romero as King Hamlet and Peter Downey as Hamlet, the prince of Denmark in the Napa Valley College workshop production of Hamlet’s Big Adventure (a prequel). Photo by Shelly Hanan. Title graphic by Chad Yarish.)

Episode 612. NewVic Usher Corps

Anthony Pound is the Associate Director of Education and Youth Engagement at the New Victory Theatre in New York City, and now that school is back in session Anthony tells us all about  NewVic’s award-winning Usher Corps theatre internship program. Featuring robust education departments, amazing lower lobbies, incredible online resources, briefing and debriefing, winning awards, post-show workshops, pursuing realistic careers in the arts, shout-outs to Sunset Cultural Center and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and finally, fabulous encounters with former first ladies. (Length 20:12)

Episode 603. Value Of Limitations

The script for William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) has now been published in the US (after having been published in the UK earlier this year) and this week we talk about how the various limitations we’ve encountered — physical, institutional, and personal — have all required we make changes to the script, many of which improved the script and we decided to keep. Featuring the challenges of retraining muscle memory, the differences between a two-hour performance and an hour-long one, the possibly counterintuitive value of sanitizing for your comedic pleasure, the dangers of swearing even in Pig Latin, the joy of turning limitations into gold, the surprising distinction between crotches and nipples, the futility of coming up with a Timon of Athens joke, and the dismay of thinking that something’s terribly moving and discovering you’re only half right. (Length 20:12)

Episode 506. Shakespeare In China

”In July 2016, we taught theatre workshops and directed a reduced version of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Beijing, China. Hosted by Tin House Productions, who is producing our three-week Chinese tour later this year, we worked with a fantastic group of kids as well as (for one night) a large group of Read more…

Episode 483. Welcome Back, Qatar

”Our recent trip to Qatar included school performances and workshops, and a private performance at the British Embassy. Austin Tichenor, Dan Saski, and Tiger Reel talk about this trip to a part of the world the RSC rarely visits, and share preconceptions both shattered and confirmed, mistaking ourselves for royalty, pronunciation Read more…

Episode 470. Theatre For Kids

A recent student matinee — typically something to be dreaded — was instead a delight thanks to the good folks at the Sunset Cultural Center in Carmel, CA, where we performed a 45-minute version of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) and taught in-class workshops as part of their Classroom Connections program. We discuss our work with children, both onstage and in classrooms, and reveal our bias towards a certain kind of theatre, talk about the fun of doing children’s theatre for grownups, give a shout-out to the New Victory Theatre in New York (which also has amazing programs for children and families), enjoy a special appearance from Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter, and bask in the holiday cheer of seeing different generations enjoying the same show. (Length 16:16)

Episode 417. Comedy Cast Notes

”Chad Yarish and Dan Saski, two of the original cast members of the workshop production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged), attended the first performance of the West Coast Premiere of the RSC production at the Marin Theatre Company, and shared their thoughts about how the show has changed 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 369. 2013’s Top Podcasts

”Are you dying to know what the ten most popular episodes of the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast were in 2013? Hope so! For this final podcast of the year, we hear excerpts from the ten most-downloaded podcasts of the last twelve months. Featuring insights into homeland security, reasons why both 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 346. Theatre In Prison

”New York-based director Kate Powers talks about her recent production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town which she directed at the fabled maximum security Sing Sing Correctional Facility as part of her work with a program called Rehabilitation Through the Arts. Featuring themes of regret, artistic and practical challenges, how to stage a Read more…

Episode 328. Our Reduced Workshops

”In addition to performing our shows around the world, we teach theatre workshops in many of the various communities where we appear. This week we talk about the various workshops we offer and discuss the importance of listening, how you can book a Reduced Shakespeare Company Workshop in your community, Read more…