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Shakespeare

Content in this section focuses on the Bard’s work and contemporary responses to and interpretations of it. There’s a broad range of topics to explore here, from Madeline Sayet’s interrogation of the Shakespeare system, to Lavina Jadhwani’s conversation about dismantling the plays’ anti-Black language, to a panel about Shakespeare and new work.

The Latest

Consent, Courtship, and Comedy in Keiko Green’s The Bed Trick
Essay
Consent, Courtship, and Comedy in Keiko Green’s The Bed Trick
by Erin Murray
21 May 2024
Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation
Essay
Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation
by Rainier Pearl-Styles
4 March 2024
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
Essay
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
by Sophie McIntosh
22 January 2024
Three performers act in a brightly colored bedroom set.
Consent, Courtship, and Comedy in Keiko Green’s The Bed Trick
Essay

Consent, Courtship, and Comedy in Keiko Green’s The Bed Trick

21 May 2024

In Keiko Green’s The Bed Trick, a new adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well, issues of consent in both the bedroom and the theatre classroom are explored in the modern context of college. Erin Murray explains how the show creates a theatrically slippery and inquisitive space which prompts audience members to examine their own role in a society that fosters rape culture. 

Three actors rehearse a scene with large pieces of blue fabric.
Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation
Essay

Recasting, Restorying, and Restructuring Shakespeare for Liberation

4 March 2024

Educator Rainier Pearl-Styles recounts their experience of devising a show in response to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, using tenets of Paolo Freire’s theory of liberatory education. Through recasting, restorying, and restructuring, the participants were able to use Shakespeare as a tool for understanding power and identity.  

An actors holds a fork over an actor lying on a table, as if preparing to stab him.
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
Essay

Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth

22 January 2024

Sophie McIntosh recounts her experience seeing Double Feature’s productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in one Brooklyn brownstone. The directors of the two shows prioritized care and collectivity and aimed to throw away power structures, despite their limited resources. As a person who has historically felt alienated by Shakespeare, Double Feature helped Sophie discover that Shakespeare was allowed to be for her too. 

A tall Black man performs passionately while surrounded by audience members.
Shakespeare Against the Canon in Our Verse in Time to Come
Essay

Shakespeare Against the Canon in Our Verse in Time to Come

22 August 2023

Karen Ann Daniels, Malik Work, and John “Ray” Proctor sit down with Melissa Lin Sturges to discuss their work on Our Verse in Time to Come, a Folger Theatre production that used Shakespeare as a jumping off point to become a testament to “the other bards”—the ones still living and the ones still to come.

Latinx Shakespeares: Writing a Theatre Archive
Video

Latinx Shakespeares: Writing a Theatre Archive

Virtual Book Launch Party for Latinx Shakespeares: Staging US Intracultural Theater (University of Michigan Press, January 2023)

Wednesday 8 March 2023
United States

Virtual book launch party for Latinx Shakespeares: Staging US Intracultural Theater (University of Michigan Press, January 2023) and the launch of LatinxShakespeares.Org. This monograph explores how Latinx culture is constructed dramaturgically and textually in Shakespearean adaptations and productions. LatinxShakespeares.Org is an online living theatre archive of Latinx adaptation. This event will feature live captioning and ASL interpretation.

event poster for COMEDY, CRUELTY, & THE CONCEPT OF REVENGE with portraits of Betty Shamieh and Allen Gilmore.
Comedy, Cruelty, and the Concept of Revenge
Video

Comedy, Cruelty, and the Concept of Revenge

Writer Betty Shamieh and Actor Allen Gilmore Discuss Their Interpretations of Malvolio as a Writer and an Actor

Wednesday 19 October 2022
United States

The Classical Theatre of Harlem presented the conversation Comedy, Cruelty, and the Concept of Revenge, livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A woman dancing on stage.
Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future
Essay

Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future

29 September 2022

Monica Payne recaps the 26th international Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, where artists from around the globe adapted, deconstructed, and celebrated Shakespeare’s plays through boldly contemporary productions.

A woman in a traditional garb stands outside facing an audience.
“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival
Essay

“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival

25 July 2022

Robert Hubbard discusses the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival production of Othello, which Tara Moses adapted and directed through an Indigenous Futurist lens. The resulting production employed its Shakespearean source text to model solidarity between Tribal Sovereignty and Black Liberation movements.

Seven Black actors performing on stage accompanied by the band.
The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival
Essay

The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival

A Celebration of Bahamian Theatre and Performance

23 November 2021

Robert Hubbard sits down with Dr. Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows to discuss their creation of the annual Shakespeare in Paradise Festival in the Bahamas.

Going Beyond Shakespeare
Podcast

Going Beyond Shakespeare

with Rob Crighton

17 November 2021

Shakespeare looms large over both the American and British theatre scenes. But his outsize influence means that we’ve long neglected a dizzying array of fascinating and brilliant theatre written by other early modern England dramatists. Robert Crighton and the Beyond Shakespeare Company are working to remedy this, and Robert joins us for this episode to discuss how they’re trying to expand our awareness of the theatre of this era.

A portrait of Tana Wojczuk.
Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk
Podcast

Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk

3 November 2021

In the nineteenth century, Charlotte Cushman became United States’ first celebrity actress. Tana Wojczuk, who has written a new biography of Cushman, joins the Mike Lueger to talk about the actress’s remarkable life both on stage and off.

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 3 June 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 3 June 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Jéhan Òsanyìn
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Jéhan Òsanyìn

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 20 May 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and and Jéhan Òsanyìn livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 20 May 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 6 May 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and and Joshua Castille livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 6 May 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

a large group of actors on an outdoor stage
Shakespeare in Black with Renea Brown
Podcast

Shakespeare in Black with Renea Brown

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast Season 2 Episode 3

7 October 2020

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview actress Renea Brown on the interactions between Black theatre and Shakespeare, as well as her experience as a Black Shakespearean performer.

two actors onstage
Staging Bilingual Classical Theatre
Essay

Staging Bilingual Classical Theatre

15 September 2020

Carla Della Gatta offers strategies and considerations for theatremakers who are looking to create bilingual or semi-bilingual renditions of the canonized classics.

madeline sayet holding a paper shakespeare mask
Interrogating the Shakespeare System
Essay

Interrogating the Shakespeare System

31 August 2020

Madeline Sayet argues that promoting Shakespeare as the best writer of all time is a dangerous and white supremacist viewpoint, and she believes it’s time to interrogate the Bard’s placecent as the pinnacle of theatrical achievement.

actors onstage
Dismantling Anti-Black Language
Essay

Dismantling Anti-Black Language

27 August 2020

Holly Derr interviews Lavina Jadhwani about the document she created called Dismantling Anti-Black Linguistic Racism in Theatre, which offers several examples of potentially anti-Black language, such as Ethiopian, master, and minstrel; their use in Shakespeare; why they might be problematic; and possible substitutions.

Photo of a white German man pouring whiskey for a Black Nigerian man.
I am Wole, I am Heiner
Essay

I am Wole, I am Heiner

For a Fully Realized Representation of Brown Artists on Stage

27 May 2020

In this last installment of the Beyond the Western Canon series, Sadie Berlin questions how marginalized voices are represented on stage and calls for more experimental work by artists of color on Canadian stages.

woman in dramatic lighting.
Translating the Bard
Essay

Translating the Bard

What Does a Modern Shakespeare Look Like?

6 January 2020

Loren Noveck discusses the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! project, which commissioned thirty-six playwrights to translate the entire corpus of Shakespeare into contemporary modern English.

 two actors onstage
Unmanly Grief
Essay

Unmanly Grief

Performing A Trans Hamlet

10 September 2019

Aley O’Mara reflects on Daniel Winder’s Hamlet and speaks to the lead—trans actor Jenet Le Lacheur—about the titular character in this production being nonbinary and transfeminine.

two actors onstage
Provoked and Triggered
Essay

Provoked and Triggered

Content Warnings and Student Spectators

21 July 2019

Professor Christin Essin talks about problematic staging of gendered violence at a production she recently brought her students to and the importance of content warnings and taking care of survivors in theatrical works.

actors onstage
“To the heart, she led them there”
Essay

“To the heart, she led them there”

Native Theatre, Inclusion, and Shakespeare on the Great Plains

18 July 2019

Robert Hubbard discussions Madeline Sayet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the South Dakota Theatre Festival.

actors onstage
Staging Sexual Assault Responsibly
Essay

Staging Sexual Assault Responsibly

Lessons from The Changeling

10 July 2019

Charlene V. Smith talks about asking hard questions around the interpretation of early modern English classics, Brave Spirits Theatre’s production of The Changeling, and five tips for dealing with sexual assault in art responsibly.

a sepia toned photograph
Are We Traumatizing People?
Essay

Are We Traumatizing People?

9 July 2019

Emer McHugh and Jess R. Pfeffer discuss Hamlet’s nunnery scene, how gendered violence onstage is often about the perpetrator’s character development, problematic assaults on TV, and more.

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