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Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast

Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimited Podcast

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Home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Advancing knowledge and the arts. Discover it all at www.folger.edu. Shakespeare turns up in the most interesting places—not just literature and the stage, but science and social history as well. Our "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast explores the fascinating and varied connections between Shakespeare, his works, and the world around us.


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How 'King Lear' Inspired 'Empire'

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Mar 22, 2017


You can find Shakespeare in all sorts of places, including the Fox TV series "Empire." From its very beginning, "Empire" has fashioned itself on the plot of "King Lear." And that's not the only Shakespeare connection to the program, as Ilene Chaiken, showrunner and executive producer for "Empire," explains. She was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published March 22, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “The world in empire,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Jeff Peters at the Marketplace studios in Los Angeles.

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Derek Walcott Reads "The Sea Is History"

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Mar 21, 2017


Poet and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott reads his poem, "The Sea Is History." Walcott joined us for a reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library in March of 2007.

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Something Rotten

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Mar 07, 2017


In 2015, a new musical called "Something Rotten!" opened on Broadway. The plot: Two brothers living in England in 1595 have had their playwriting careers upended by the arrival of a new guy from Stratford upon Avon. Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, brothers who co-wrote the music and lyrics for Something Rotten!, are our guests on this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited. They are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published March 7, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “Play On,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Cameron Adkins at WPLN in Nashville and Brian Allison at the Marketplace studios in Los Angeles.

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Shakespeare and Marlowe

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Feb 21, 2017


A few months ago, Oxford University Press decided that in the New Oxford Shakespeare, the plays Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3 would no longer be listed as having been written by Shakespeare alone. Instead the title pages will say: “By William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.” To discuss how this kind of author attribution happens, we have Folger Director Michael Witmore and Eric Rasmussen, chair of the English department at the University of Nevada, Reno. They’re interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published February 21, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “As if a Man Were Author if Himself” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Michele Ravera at radio station KUNR in Reno, Brian Allison and Jeff Peters at the Marketplace Studios in Los Angeles, and Melissa Marquis at NPR Headquarters in Washington.

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Juliet's Answer

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Feb 07, 2017


Starting in the 1930s, people began sending letters asking for advice on love and romance to Verona, Italy—addressed to Juliet. In 2014, a lovelorn Canadian high school teacher traveled to Verona over summer vacation to volunteer as one of “Juliet’s secretaries.” The experience changed his life—and his perspective on Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published February 7, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Any man that can write may answer a letter” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the Associate Producer. It was editing by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Jeff Muller at Alchemy Studios in Calgary, Alberta and Jake Gorsky and Jeff Peters at the Marketplace Studios in Los Angeles.

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Shakespeare in California

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jan 24, 2017


When we think of Shakespeare in the American West, Hollywood immediately comes to mind, but this podcast also takes us back to the California Gold Rush and the Americans who brought Shakespeare with them when they flooded westward. Stephen Dickey, a senior lecturer in the English Department at UCLA and the curator of “America’s Shakespeare: The Bard Goes West,” is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 24, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “The West Yet Glimmers With Some Streaks Of Day” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from Brian Allison and Jeff Peters at the Marketplace studios in Los Angeles.

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Q Brothers

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jan 10, 2017


Since 2002, Gregory and Jeffery Ameen Qaiyum, better known as G.Q. and J.A.Q – the Q Brothers – have been using hip-hop to adapt and update the plays of William Shakespeare. At the time we recorded this podcast, their show Othello: The Remix was running off-Broadway at the Westside Theater. They were interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published January 10, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Something Then In Rhyme” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Alana Karpoff and Rachael Singer of the theater management company, Jeffrey Richards Associates; Angie Hamilton Lowe at NPR-West in Culver City, California; and Devin Mellor & Camille Smiley at NPR in New York.

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Uncovering Shakespeare's House

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Dec 13, 2016


Since 2002, a major organization in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, has supported an archaeological dig on the former grounds of a house called “New Place.” New Place was one of the biggest houses in Stratford when Shakespeare was a boy. Once he became a wealthy and famous playwright, he bought it. When he wasn’t in London, he lived there with his family until his death, 19 years later, in 1616. The dig has revealed some tantalizing clues about how the Shakespeare family lived their lives – what they ate, how they cooked what they ate, and – as you’ll hear – how they worked and played. Kevin Colls is Archaeological Project Manager at the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent. Nic Fulcher of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the Assistant Project Manager at New Place. They were interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published December 13, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Now will I lead you to the house” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from Andy Grier at Sounding Sweet studios in Stratford-upon-Avon and Melissa Marquis, the Coordinating Producer for News Operations at NPR in Washington. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/new-place-house-archaeological-dig

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Shakespeare and YA Novels

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Nov 29, 2016


While print sales of adult fiction are down in the last decade, the juvenile market – which includes young adult literature or "YA" – has actually gone up 40 percent. In this episode, two YA authors talk about their writing, their audience, their inspirations, and the role that Shakespeare plays in all of it. Molly Booth’s first novel, "Saving Hamlet," was published in 2016 by Disney-Hyperion. It tells the story of an American teenager who time-travels back to Shakespeare’s Globe during the original production of "Hamlet." Ryan North, best known as the creator of Dinosaur Comics, is the author of two titles that take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach to Shakespeare. "To Be Or Not To Be" was originally self-published in 2013 and was Kickstarter's most-funded publishing project at the time. His second, "Romeo and/or Juliet," was published by Riverhead Books in 2016. Ryan and Molly are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 29, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “The Quick Fire of Youth” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from Thomas Devlin at WGBH in Boston, Gord Richards at Oak Recording Studio Toronto, and Jeff Peters at the Marketplace studios in Los Angeles. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/ya-novels-ryan-north-molly-booth

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Stephen Greenblatt on Shakespeare's Life Stories

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Nov 15, 2016


There are a surprising number of characters in Shakespeare who propose or ask or even demand that someone tell their life’s story. (Think of Hamlet’s dying words to Horatio: “And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain / To tell my story.”) While that may not seem surprising on the face of it – Shakespeare was a storyteller after all – this idea of re-imagining your life so that it tells a story was not a common one in Shakespeare’s time. In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Harvard University’s Stephen Greenblatt expands upon the talk he gave earlier this year for the Folger Institute’s Shakespeare Anniversary Lecture Series, about how Shakespeare shapes characters and narratives. He also explores how the French Renaissance writer Montaigne influenced Shakespeare, and how Shakespeare pushed back on some of Montaigne’s ideas. Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of – among other books – "Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare" and "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern." Professor Greenblatt was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 15, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Teach him how to tell my story” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Professor Greenblatt's assistant, Aubrey Everett; from Anna Steinbock in the Harvard Office of Public Affairs & Communications and from Jeff Peters and the staff of the Marketplace studios in Los Angeles. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/stephen-greenblatt

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Shakespeare and Girlhood

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Nov 01, 2016


How does Shakespeare portray girls and girlhood in his plays, and what do those portrayals tell us about life in Elizabethan and Jacobean England? Our guest for this Shakespeare Unlimited episode, Deanne Williams of York University in Toronto, is the author of Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood, published in 2014. She is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 1, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Why, here's a girl!” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/girlhood

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Shakespeare in Sign Language

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Oct 18, 2016


Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, is the world’s only university designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students. For more than 150 years, its students have been performing Shakespeare without spoken words. This month, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s nationwide First Folio tour stops at Gallaudet, which also has a companion exhibition called “First Folio: Eyes on Shakespeare,” curated by Jill Bradbury, a Gallaudet English professor. In this podcast she takes us on a tour of the exhibition and of the world of Shakespeare in sign language. Transcript here: http://www.folger.edu/sites/default/files/ShaxUnlimited_Gallaudet_Transcript.pdf Jill Bradbury is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published October 18, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Altered much upon the hearing it,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Kaitlin Luna, Gallaudet’s Coordinator of Media and Public Relations. Jill Bradbury’s sign language interpreter during the interview was Loriel Dutton. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/sign-language-gallaudet

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Shakespeare in Solitary

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Oct 04, 2016


For ten years, Laura Bates, a professor at Indiana State University, taught Shakespeare to a group of inmates considered the worst of the worst – men incarcerated in the solitary confinement unit at Indiana’s Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. These are, for the most part, prisoners considered so dangerous they were kept apart, even from the other prisoners. Every week, Professor Bates would drive out to the prison, make her way over to solitary confinement and sit down in a space in between the cells of these men to discuss Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and Richard II. She wrote about her experiences in a book titled "Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard." Laura Bates is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. This Shakespeare Unlimited episode, "How I May Compare This Prison Where I Live Unto The World" was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. Audio of the inmates Laura worked with was provided by Indiana State’s Video Production Manager, Tracy Ford. It was edited by Ciara Gillan. We had additional help from Mike Paskash and Casey Zakin at WFIU, Indiana Public Media and Bill Lancz at Marketplace Studios in Los Angeles. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/solitary-prison

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Anecdotal Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Sep 20, 2016


The curses associated with the Scottish play. Using a real skull for the Yorick scene in "Hamlet." Over the centuries, these and other fascinating theatrical anecdotes have attached themselves to the plays of William Shakespeare. Many of these stories have been told and re-told, over and over, century after century – with each new generation inserting the names of new actors into the story and telling the story as if it just occurred. So “One night David Garrick was backstage” becomes, “So one night Edmund Kean was backstage” which then becomes, “So one night Richard Burton was backstage.” And so on. Our guest, Paul Menzer, is a professor and the director of the Shakespeare and Performance graduate program at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. His book "Anecdotal Shakespeare: A New Performance History" was published by Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare in 2015 He was interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 20, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Truths Would Be Tales, Where Now Half Tales Be Truths” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/actor-anecdotes

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How Shakespeare's First Folio Became a Star

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Sep 06, 2016


Today, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works, printed in 1623, can sell for millions of dollars. But the First Folio wasn’t always valued so highly. In this podcast episode, two experts in the First Folio and the book trade, Adam Hooks and Dan De Simone, chart the rise of the First Folio—how and when this book became a cultural icon with such a dizzying price tag. Adam Hooks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Iowa and author of “Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade.” Dan De Simone is the Eric Weinmann Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library. They were interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 6, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “A Volume Of Enticing Lines” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from Jim Davies, Chief Engineer at Iowa Public Radio in Iowa City and the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/how-first-folio-became-a-star

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Elizabethan Medicine

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Aug 23, 2016


Being a patient in Shakespeare’s time was an adventure. You might be told to drink liquid gold or syrup of violets. You might undergo a violent purgation to take the bad humors out of your body. They might draw blood from your ankle or your arm. But while these prescriptions seem laughable today, elements of the thinking they were based on have come all the way down to us in the 21st century. That thinking, though it might seem unrelated to Shakespeare's stories, is surprisingly present in his writing. Neva Grant interviews Gail Kern Paster and Barbara Traister about medicine in the era when Shakespeare was writing. Gail Kern Paster is the Folger’s director emerita, and Barbara Traister is professor emeritus of English at Lehigh University and the author of “The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Forman.” From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published August 23, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “I Know My Physic Will Work With Him” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/elizabethan-medicine

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American Moor

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Aug 09, 2016


"Othello" is the story of a tragic murder and suicide involving a dark-skinned general and his aristocratic, white-skinned bride. Who should direct it? Who’s “allowed” to? What if a white director and the actor he’s cast as Othello simply do not see eye-to-eye on the play’s subtext, the Moor’s motivations, and what the audience is supposed to take away from the production? That conflict is at the heart of a one-man show currently being performed around the country called "American Moor." In it, a black actor – the play’s author, Keith Hamilton Cobb – stands on stage and addresses an invisible, white director who simply does not “get” Othello. Their disagreement allows for a searing exploration of the gulf between black and white Americans that some like to believe simply does not exist. Keith Hamilton Cobb is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published August 9, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Is This the Noble Moor?”, was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Bill Lancz at the Marketplace Studios in Los Angeles. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/american-moor

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The Food of Shakespeare's World

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jul 26, 2016


This episode shifts slightly from our usual intense focus on Shakespeare. Instead, we are talking about the world that he inhabited, or at least a small part of that world: the kitchen. Kitchens, and what goes on in them, come up in Shakespeare’s plays with surprising frequency, whether directly or, more often, obliquely. Our guest is Wendy Wall, an English professor at Northwestern University and director of the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Her 2015 book Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen explores household recipes and what they tell us about English culture when Shakespeare was writing. She is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 26, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “You Will Hie You Home to Dinner,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Allyssa Kaitlyn Pollard in the Northwestern University Media Relations Department and Jeff Peters at the studios of Marketplace in Los Angeles. http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/food-wendy-wall

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Recreating the Boydell Gallery

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jul 12, 2016


In the decades after Shakespeare's death, his works temporarily fell out of favor. His renaissance is usually credited to actor-manager David Garrick, who staged a Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769. Riding Garrick's coattails, an artistic entrepreneur named John Boydell later opened one of England's first art galleries, devoted to paintings of scenes from Shakespeare plays. The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery has now been recreated online. Our guest is Janine Barchas, an English professor at the University of Texas at Austin and curator of the Folger's upcoming exhibition, "Will & Jane." Barchas led the team that reconstructed Boydell's gallery as a website. We talked with her about the 18th-century Shakespeare craze, how Boydell capitalized on it, and the detective work required to recreate his gallery. Janine Barchas is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. You can see the digital Boydell Gallery at www.whatjanesaw.org From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 12, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Painting is Welcome,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Jacob Weiss at Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) at the University of Texas at Austin and Bill Lancz at the studios of Marketplace in Los Angeles.

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Worlds Elsewhere

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jun 29, 2016


In 2012, Andrew Dickson watched a Shakespeare play in London that set him off on a quest. When it ended, he had traveled to Poland, Germany, India, China and all across the United States. He chronicled his travels in a book titled "Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe" that was published in 2015. He explains now what the play was that set him off on this journey, and just what it was he was hoping to find. Andrew is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published June 29, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.This podcast episode, “There Is A World Elsewhere,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from the Sound Company in London and the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC.

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Othello and Blackface

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jun 14, 2016


This podcast episode, which deals with race, Othello, and how the Elizabethans portrayed blackness onstage, offers a startling, new interpretation of Desdemona’s handkerchief that is changing the way scholars understand the play. Our guests are Ayanna Thompson, Professor of English at George Washington University and a Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America, and Ian Smith, Professor of English at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. They are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published June 14, 2016. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, "Teach Him How To Tell My Story," was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. Thank you to Tobey Schreiner at WAMU-FM in Washington, DC, Neil Hever at radio station WDIY in Bethlehem, PA, and Jeff Peters at Marketplace in Los Angeles.

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Shakespeare and Religion

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, May 31, 2016


The period when Shakespeare was writing was one torn by disagreements over the proper method of observing Christianity in England. Protestantism was at war with Catholicism and the Church of England often employed coercion and even violence to enforce its hegemony. The way Shakespeare handled these divisions is the topic of this podcast episode, "There Are More Things in Heaven and Earth, Than Are Dreamt Of In Your Philosophy." Our guest is David Scott Kastan, George M. Bodman Professor of English at Yale University, who explores these questions in his book, "Will To Believe: Shakespeare and Religion." David Kastan is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © May 31, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Philip Kearney, Studio Operations Manager at the Yale University Broadcast Center, and from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC.

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Shakespeare in Africa

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, May 17, 2016


When the British came to colonize the African continent in the middle of the 1800s, they brought Shakespeare with them. But after the British left power, it was often Shakespeare who leaders in African countries summoned to push back against the colonial experience — using his words to promote unity, elevate native languages, and critique the politics of the time. Barbara Bogaev interviews Jane Plastow, Professor of African Theatre at the University of Leeds and co-editor of “African Theatre 12: Shakespeare in and out of Africa.” Also featured in this podcast episode are Nigerian playwright Femi Osofisan, Kenyan playwright and novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and Tcho Caulker, a Sierra Leonean-American professor in the English Department at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © May 17, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “I Speak of Africa,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Thanks to Caleen Sinette Jennings, David Schalkwyk, and Barbara Caldwell at UC-Irvine. We had help with recording from Gareth Dant at the University of Leeds, independent producer George Lavender, Ray Andrewsen at WQUN radio in Hamden, Connecticut, and Babatunde Ogunbajo at Midas Touch Studios in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Creation of the First Folio

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, May 03, 2016


We likely wouldn’t have half of Shakespeare’s plays without the First Folio of 1623. Imagine a world without "Macbeth," "Twelfth Night," or "Julius Caesar." Our guest on this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited is Emma Smith, a professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford and the author of “The Making of the First Folio.” In her book, she offers an intimate, step-by-step examination of how the First Folio was conceived, how Shakespeare’s plays were gathered, how the rights for them were obtained, how the book was laid out, and – most vividly – how it was assembled and printed. Emma Smith is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © May 3, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “This Precious Book,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Nick Moorbath at Evolution Studios in Oxford and from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC.

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Kill Shakespeare Comics

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Apr 20, 2016


Imagine a comic book series in which Shakespeare’s most popular characters team up in rival, warring camps bent on seizing control of the kingdom that is the world of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s called “Kill Shakespeare,” and Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have been publishing the series since 2010. Barbara Bogaev interviewed the authors while they were at Comic-Con in New York in 2015 for the release of their new book — a volume that combines all the “Kill Shakespeare” comics in a single book, complete with annotations by leading Shakespeare scholars. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © April 20, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “I Have O’erheard A Plot of Death Upon Him,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Bob Auld and Deb Stathopulos at the Radio Foundation in New York and Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax-West Studios in Los Angeles.

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Reduced Shakespeare Company

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Apr 05, 2016


Discovered in a treasure-filled parking lot in Leicester, England, an ancient manuscript proves to be the long-lost first play by none other than the young William Shakespeare from Stratford. That’s the premise of the latest work from the Reduced Shakespeare Company, “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged),” which premieres at Folger Theatre in April 2016. The comedy troupe’s current directors are also its longest-serving performers, Austin Tichenor and Reed Martin. Barbara Bogaev interviews them about this new play and how it’s radically different from every other show they’ve written up to now. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © April 5, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Wendy Nicholson at public radio station KRCB in Rohnert Park, California and Jeff Peters at the studios of Marketplace in Los Angeles.

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Inside the Folger Conservation Lab

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Mar 22, 2016


The Folger is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, and the crown jewels of that collection are the 82 First Folios. To celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare, eighteen of these rare books are traveling the country throughout 2016 in the “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” exhibition. But before they hit the road, each First Folio received a little TLC from Folger conservators up on the third floor. In this podcast episode, Renate Mesmer takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory. Renate Mesmer is the Folger’s Head of Conservation. Austin Plann-Curley is a project conservator in the lab. Both were interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © March 22, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. "To Repair Should Be Thy Chief Desire" was recorded and produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.

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Shakespeare and Magic

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Mar 08, 2016


In Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm, charms his daughter to sleep, and uses his power to control Ariel and other spirits. Is this magic for real, or is Prospero pulling off elaborate illusions? Fascinated by this question and by Prospero’s relinquishing of magic at the play’s end, Teller (of the magic/comedy team Penn & Teller) co-directed a production of THE TEMPEST with Aaron Posner at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2015. In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Teller joins Barbara Mowat, director of research emerita at the Folger and co-editor of the Folger Editions, to talk about magic in THE TEMPEST and other Shakespeare plays, as well as the attitudes about magic in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England. Teller and Mowat are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © March 8, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode is called “Enter Prospero in His Magic Robes, and Ariel.” It was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington, Rick Andrews and Casey Morell at Nevada Public Radio in Las Vegas, and Steven Martin at KPCC in Los Angeles.

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Shakespeare and World Cinema

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Feb 23, 2016


Shakespeare, of course, is not just performed in English, and his work is not just acted on stage. Foreign-language adaptations of Shakespeare on film have a tradition that goes back as long as talking pictures have existed. For the past 20 years, these films have been the career focus of Mark Thornton Burnett, our guest on this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited. Mark Thornton Burnett is a professor of English at Queen’s University Belfast and the author of "Shakespeare and World Cinema." He was interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © February 23, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Every Tongue Brings In A Several Tale” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Craig Jackson in the Queen's University Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast.

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Pop Sonnets

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Feb 10, 2016


There’s something that never ceases to astound when it comes to Shakespeare – the way this 400-year-old playwright continues to pop up in popular culture. Our guest on this podcast episode is Erik Didriksen, who takes hit songs from artists like Taylor Swift and Coldplay and rewrites them as Elizabethan-style sonnets. The Tumblr where Didriksen has posted these sonnets has become so popular that he's published a book, "Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs." He was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © February 10, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, called "Press Among the Popular Throngs," was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Bob Auld and Deb Stathopulos at the Radio Foundation in New York and Phil Richards and Matt Holzman at KCRW public radio in Santa Monica, California. The actors who you hear reading the sonnets are Elyse Mirto and Bo Foxworth of The Antaeus Theater Company in Los Angeles.

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Shakespeare In India

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jan 27, 2016


What impact has Shakespeare’s writing had on Indian theater? And, how has Indian theater shaped and altered Shakespeare’s work? Shakespeare’s interaction with India came, of course, in the context of India’s experience with British colonization and colonialism. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I gave a charter to the East India Company to trade with the Shahs, emperors and Maratha princes who’d ruled the subcontinent for the previous century. Over the 150 years that followed, the East India Company transitioned from being merchant traders into a kind of quasi-government. After Indians rebelled in 1857, Queen Victoria closed down the East India Company and ruled India directly as a British colony. During the run-up to the rebellion, English had become India’s language of instruction. Among the Indian elite, you needed to know Shakespeare in order to appear truly educated. In this podcast episode, Barbara Bogaev interviews Jyotsna Singh, Professor of English at Michigan State University, and Modhumita Roy, Associate Professor of English at Tufts. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © January 27, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “From the Farthest Steep of India” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Marcus Rediker at the University of Pittsburgh, Thomas Devlin at WGBH radio in Boston, Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West Recording Studio in Los Angeles, and Ricky Nalett at L. A. Productions in Dewitt, Michigan.

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Auditioning for Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Jan 12, 2016


Laura Wayth, our guest for this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, is Assistant Professor of Theatre at San Francisco State University and the author of a “how-to” book called "The Shakespeare Audition: How to Get Over Your Fear, Find the Right Piece, and Have a Great Audition." Wayth was interviewed by Neva Grant, and she was joined by actors Stephanie Ann Foster, Mike Ryan, and Bruce Avery. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © January 12, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. "A Poor Player That Struts and Frets His Hour Upon the Stage" was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington and Darren Peck at the Sports By Line studios in San Francisco.

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Shakespeare Portraits

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Dec 15, 2015


There’s no doubt you’ve seen images of Shakespeare – maybe in a book, a museum or an ad on the wall of a bus stop. So it’s safe to say: You imagine that you have a pretty good idea of what Shakespeare looked like. Oxford University professor Katherine Duncan-Jones has written a book that invites you to question your assumptions and – maybe – take a new look. As you’ll hear, there really are only a few likenesses of Shakespeare where we’re pretty sure we know that the face in the image is his. She offers her theories on why that might be and tells us what’s known about how these images came to be. Katherine Duncan-Jones is interviewed by Rebecca Sheir. Katherine Duncan-Jones is Professor Emerita of English Literature at Oxford and an honorary professor of English at University College, London. Her book, "Portraits of Shakespeare," was published by Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 2015. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © December 15, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Now thy image doth appear” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Nick Moorbath at Evolution Recording Studios in Oxford.

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Shakespeare's Star Wars

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, Dec 01, 2015


Shakespeare adaptations are a proud tradition. Prokofiev turned ROMEO AND JULIET into a ballet. Verdi turned MACBETH and OTHELLO into operas, and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and TWELFTH NIGHT have been converted by Hollywood into teen comedies. But there’s a different type of Shakespeare adaptation that’s a lot harder to get right – that’s when someone takes an existing piece of popular entertainment and reimagines it as if it might have been written by Shakespeare. As Ian Doescher can tell us, that can be hard to get right. He’s the author of six books under the series title, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, based on the hit films featuring Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the rest. As you’ll hear, making this work has taken far more thinking and craftsmanship than you might imagine. Ian is interviewed by Stephanie Kaye. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © December 1, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “I Feel Now The Future In The Instant” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Timmy Olmstead at WAMU-FM in Washington and Lisa Dougherty and the staff at Digital One recording studios in Portland, Oregon.

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Andrea Mays: The Millionaire and the Bard

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Nov 18, 2015


Henry Clay Folger paid a world record price for a book—not once, but twice—as he became the world's leading collector of Shakespeare First Folios. In this episode, economist and author Andrea Mays talks with Neva Grant about some of the fascinating financial and personal details of Folger's life, and in particular, how he went about collecting all these books. Folger, of course, did not limit himself to First Folios. He also, together with his wife Emily Jordan Folger, assembled the world’s largest Shakespeare collection—and founded the Folger Shakespeare Library. Mays's book "The Millionaire and the Bard" was published earlier this year. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © November 18, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “Mine own library with volumes that I prize”was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington.

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Shakespeare in the Caribbean

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Nov 04, 2015


Shakespeare and his plays are woven deeply into the culture of the Caribbean, both white and black. Even after centuries of British colonial rule came to an end, Shakespeare endured, as we hear in this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited. There’s a long tradition in the British Caribbean of using Shakespeare quotations in competitions to demonstrate rhetorical skill, whether in the schoolyard or at rural village gatherings. After slavery was abolished in the British colonies, schools were established to steep the empire’s newest subjects in British literature, particularly Shakespeare, imparting British values along the way. But anti-colonialists have also claimed Shakespeare for their own, particularly THE TEMPEST and the character of Caliban. Our guests on this episode are Dr. Giselle Rampaul, a lecturer in Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and Dr. Barrymore A. Bogues, Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. They are interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © November 4, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. “A Vision Of This Island” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington, Courtney Coelho at Brown University, and Kerri Chandler at Wiluvbeats Studios in Barataria, Trinidad. We also want to say a special “thank you” to Fabienne Viala, a professor in the school of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick in the UK. Early on in our research on this topic, Dr. Viala was uncommonly generous in offering her time and her deep understanding of this history. She also introduced us to Giselle Rampaul.

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Stanley Wells on Great Shakespeare Actors

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Oct 21, 2015


For the majority of audience members, Shakespeare is brought to life by the actors and actresses who speak his lines. Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells considered all of the most outstanding Shakespeare performers, from past to present, and essentially created his own personal Hall of Fame. He’s written about these artists in a book called "Great Shakespeare Actors: Burbage to Branagh." Wells sifted through firsthand accounts from those who saw these great performers on stage to get a sense of what the actors brought to Shakespeare and why it was worth going to see them. Stanley Wells is interviewed by Stephanie Kaye. This podcast episode is called “O, there be players that I have seen play.” From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © October 21, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. We had help from Timothy Olmstead at WAMU-FM in Washington, DC. We’d also like to thank Beverley Hemming, the Corporate Communications Manager at the Stratford-on-Avon District Council for allowing Dr. Wells to speak from their recording unit at Elizabeth House.

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Music for Shakespeare's Lyrics

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Oct 07, 2015


The majority of Shakespeare’s plays call for singing — sometimes it’s part of the action, sometimes it seems to spring out of nowhere. And while the lyrics to the songs appear to have always been a part of the text, the musical notes for those lyrics have been lost over the years. Over four centuries of staging Shakespeare, directors have explored different approaches to filling in these musical gaps. David Lindley, professor emeritus of literature and music at the University of Leeds, is our guest for this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited. His book, SHAKESPEARE AND MUSIC, appeared in 2006 in the Arden Critical Companions series. He is interviewed by Neva Grant. This episode is called “Ay, prithee, sing.” From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © October 7, 2015. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington and Gareth Dant in the University of Leeds Communications Office.

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The Year of Lear

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Sep 23, 2015


1606 was a critical year for Shakespeare’s creative career. It was the year in which he wrote KING LEAR, MACBETH, and ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. It was also a time in which the king of England, James I, faced internal political challenges that threatened to tear the nation apart. James Shapiro is our guest for this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited. His new book, THE YEAR OF LEAR, examines how the events of 1606 touched Shakespeare’s life and whether they are reflected in his work. James Shapiro is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. THE YEAR OF LEAR: SHAKESPEARE IN 1606, will be published October 6, 2015, by Simon & Schuster. James Shapiro is also a member of the Folger’s Board of Governors. He was interviewed by Neva Grant. This podcast episode is called “I Have Years On My Back.” “I have years on my back…” –KING LEAR (1.4.39) From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 23, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Melissa Marquis at NPR in Washington and Larry Josephson at the Radio Foundation in New York.

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Editing Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Sep 09, 2015


Just what exactly does it mean to edit the works of Shakespeare, particularly since we have no surviving manuscript copies? Why is it that new editions of the plays continue to be published? In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Rebecca Sheir interviews Paul Werstine and Suzanne Gossett about the how and why of editing Shakespeare. Since 1989, Paul Werstine has been the co-editor of the Folger Editions, along with Barbara Mowat. He’s also a professor of English at King’s University College in London, Ontario. Suzanne Gossett is co-general-textual editor of "The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd Edition" and professor emerita of English at Loyola University in Chicago. She has also edited the Arden Shakespeare edition of Pericles and is a past president of the Shakespeare Association of America. The title of this episode is "The Dedicated Words Which Writers Use." "The dedicated words which writers use / Of their fair subject, blessing every book." -SONNET 82 From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 9, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Aileen Humphreys at WAMU-FM in Washington and Mary Gaffney at WBEZ, Chicago.

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Shakespeare Not Stirred

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Aug 26, 2015


"Shakespeare Not Stirred" is the creation of two English professors who combined their love of the cocktail hour and their love of Shakespeare to write a collection of Bard-inspired cocktail and hors d’oeuvre recipes. This thoroughly modern book (released September 1, 2015) contains instructions for concocting drinks like “Kate’s Shrew-driver” and “Othello’s Green-eyed Monster.” The images of Shakespeare characters that accompany the recipes are all taken from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection – with some clever Photoshop work done to insert glasses in the hands of the characters. In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Rebecca Sheir interviews Caroline Bicks, a professor at Boston College, and Michelle Ephraim, a professor at Worcester Polytechnical Institute, about their inspiration for the book. This episode is called “Fetch Me A Stoup Of Liquor.” "Go, get thee in, and fetch me a stoup of liquor." (HAMLET, 5.1.61-62) This episode was produced by Richard Paul and Garland Scott. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Thomas Devlin at public radio station WGBH in Boston.

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Great Shakespeareans

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jul 29, 2015


If you were to make a list of the people who have left an enduring imprint on how the world interprets, understands, and receives Shakespeare, who would you choose? About a decade ago, Peter Holland, the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies at Notre Dame, and Adrian Poole, the former Chair in English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, set out to create a compendium that summed up the work of these influential people. They chose performers, scholars, writers, critics, theater directors, and others. The final set of books in their opus, an 18-volume reference work called "Great Shakespeareans," was released in 2013. In this podcast episode, Peter Holland explains the rationale he and Adrian Poole used to decide just who got to be listed as the world’s great Shakespeareans. Peter Holland was interviewed by Rebecca Sheir. The title of this podcast episode is “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.” —TWELFTH NIGHT(2.5.149-150) From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 29, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul and Garland Scott. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Mandy Kinnucan in the Notre Dame Media Relations department.

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Shakespeare and The Tabard Inn

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jul 15, 2015


What if Shakespeare and his friends had gotten together and carved their names on the wall of an inn made famous by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales? The intriguing possibility of such a link between these two great English writers stems from an anecdote found in a little-known manuscript. Unfortunately, The Tabard Inn burned down in the great Southwark fire of 1676, so there’s no way of knowing the truth for sure. But the Shakespeare graffiti story grabs our imagination even if it was only hear-say, and that tells us something about the intense hunger out there for more details about the playwright’s life. Our guest is Martha Carlin, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was interviewed by Rebecca Sheir. The title of this podcast is “Betwixt tavern and tavern.” "Thou hast saved me a thousand marks in links and torches, walking with thee in the night betwixt tavern and tavern… " —HENRY IV, PART 1 (3.3.43-45) From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 15, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul; Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Lisa Nalbandian at Wisconsin Public Radio.

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Shakespeare in Hong Kong

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jul 01, 2015


"Last thing he did, dear queen, He kissed—the last of many doubled kisses— This orient pearl. His speech sticks in my heart." ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (1.5.45-48) Hong Kong, a former British colony, has been staging and teaching Shakespeare plays for nearly 150 years. In this episode from our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast, we see how Shakespeare is stretched to tell a story of contemporary Hong Kong and colonialism in two important adaptations of ROMEO AND JULIET—"Crocodile River" and "Young Lovers". Then, in the 1980s, a local tradition of performing Shakespeare plays begins to merge with another art form—opera. Alexa Huang, Professor of English of George Washington University, is an expert on Sino-European cultural exchange and the globalization of Shakespeare. Adele Lee is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Greenwich in England and the author of numerous articles about Shakespeare on film in Hong Kong. Huang and Lee are interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published July 1, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul; Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Laura Green at the Sound Company.

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Shakespeare on Film

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Jun 17, 2015


For most of us, “seeing Shakespeare” means experiencing live actors in a theater. But for more than 100 years, Shakespeare’s words, plots, settings and characters have also been brought to life on film. Shakespeare on film has never been like Shakespeare on stage. In the earliest years of the medium, it simply couldn’t be. Then, as film matured, directors realized that the medium offered new ways to tells Shakespeare’s stories that were impossible to reproduce on stage. Along the way, trends, like multiplex theaters, the rise of independent films, and teen comedies, and directors from Orson Welles to Laurence Olivier to Julie Taymor and Joss Whedon have reshaped and reimagined Shakespeare. Our guest, Sam Crowl, is a professor of English at Ohio University. He’s also the author of "A Norton Guide to Shakespeare and Film," "Shakespeare at the Cineplex," and "Shakespeare Observed." He was interviewed by Rebecca Sheir. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published June 17, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode was produced by Richard Paul; Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Tobey Schreiner at public radio station WAMU in Washington and Steven Skidmore at WOUB, a public radio station in Athens, Ohio.

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Shakespeare's France and Italy

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, May 20, 2015


"Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth, . . . Have stooped my neck under your injuries And sighed my English breath in foreign clouds" —RICHARD II (3.1.16, 19–20) Shakespeare's plays are well stocked with merchants of Venice, gentlemen of Verona, lords and ladies of France, and other foreign characters. But what did he—and his audiences—really know about such distant places and people? In this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited, Rebecca Sheir poses that question about France and Italy—the two foreign lands that Shakespeare wrote about the most. Her guests are Deanne Williams, author of "The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare" (2004) and associate professor of English at York University in Toronto, and Graham Holderness, author of "Shakespeare and Venice" (2013) and professor of English at the University of Hertfordshire. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published May 20, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. With help from Laura Green at The Sound Company and Jonathan Charry at public radio station WAMU.

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Elizabethan Street Fighting

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Tue, May 05, 2015


"Blood hath been shed ere now, i' th' olden time, Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal; Ay, and since too, murders have been performed Too terrible for the ear." —MACBETH(3.4.91–94) From the duels in ROMEO AND JULIET to a brutal mob in JULIUS CAESAR, street fighting transforms several of Shakespeare's plays. How much, though, does it reflect (or differ from) the mean streets of his day? Rebecca Sheir talks violence in Elizabethan times with Vanessa McMahon, author of "Murder in Shakespeare's England" (2004), and Casey Kaleba, an expert in Elizabethan street crime and one of the Washington, DC, area's most sought-after fight coaches for stage plays. ---------------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published May 6, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. With help from Folger Magazine editor Karen Lyon, Juliet Bury at Richmond, the American International University in London, Laura Green at The Sound Company, and Jonathan Charry at public radio station WAMU.

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Myths About Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Apr 22, 2015


"It is not so. Thou hast misspoke, misheard. Be well advised; tell o'er thy tale again. It cannot be; thou dost but say 'tis so." —KING JOHN (3.1.5–7) Even if you’re not a Shakespeare scholar, there are things you have learned about Shakespeare and his plays throughout your life – that it’s bad luck to say the name of “the Scottish play” or that Shakespeare hated his wife. Are any of these stories true? And whether they are or not, what do they tell us about previous eras, and our own? Rebecca Sheir talks Shakespeare myths with Emma Smith, professor of English at the University of Oxford—and co-author, with Laurie Maguire, of "30 Great Myths About Shakespeare." From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published April 22, 2015. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. With help from Nick Moorbath at Evolution Recording Studios in Oxford and Jonathan Cherry at public radio station WAMU.

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Recounting Shakespeare's Life

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Apr 08, 2015


Her father loved me, oft invited me, Still questioned me the story of my life From year to year—the battles, sieges, fortunes That I have passed. —Othello (1.3.149–152) What do we know about Shakespeare's life? The answer: Not as much as we would like to. As much or as little, in other words, as we would about any middle-class Englishman of his time. This episode of Shakespeare Unlimited considers not only that question, but two others: During the past four centuries, when and how did biographers learn about Shakespeare's life? And does knowing about any writer's biography, including Shakespeare's, make any difference in responding to their work? To tackle those big, and intriguing, questions, Rebecca Sheir talks with Brian Cummings, Anniversary Professor of English at the University of York. Cummings delivered the 2014 Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture on "Shakespeare, Biography, and Anti-Biography" at the Folger Shakespeare Library; the lecture also opened the Folger Institute's NEH-funded collaborative research conference, "Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography," which Cummings co-organized. ----------------------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. With help from Lisa Burch and Chris Robins at the University of York.

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Shakespeare in Black and White

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Our own voices with our own tongues" —CORIOLANUS (2.3.47) In one of two podcasts on Shakespeare and the African American experience, "Our Own Voices with Our Own Tongues" revisits the era when Jim Crow segregation was at its height, from a few years after the end of the Civil War to the 1940s and 1950s. Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks about black Americans and Shakespeare in that time with two scholars of the period, Marvin MacAllister and Ayanna Thompson. The discussion ranges from landmark performances—Orson Welles's Depression-era all-black MACBETH and Paul Robeson's Othello— to powerful, though less familiar, stories from the Folger's hometown of Washington, DC. It also draws in later questions about African Americans and Shakespeare, including the role of race in casting choices to this day. Marvin MacAllister is an associate professor of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. Ayanna Thompson is a professor of English at George Washington University and a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America. ----------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We also had help from Dr. James Hatch, co-author with the late Errol Hill of "A History of African American Theatre"; Connie Winston; Anthony Hill and Douglas Barnett, co-authors of "The Historical Dictionary of African American Theater"; and Jobie Sprinkle and Tena Simmons at radio station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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The Rarely Performed Shakespeare Plays

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"As jewels lose their glory if neglected, So princes their renowns if not respected." —PERICLES (2:2:12–13) Every year, theaters across the United States and the world treat us to Shakespeare—which usually means such frequently produced plays as HAMLET, MACBETH, and ROMEO AND JULIET. Some Shakespeare plays, however, are rarely performed today. Why is that, was this always the case, and what is it like to stage those plays now? Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with historian Richard Schoch and two contemporary directors—Stephanie Coltrin, of California's Little Fish Theatre, who directed KING JOHN, and Noah Brody, co-artistic director of Fiasco Theater, which staged CYMBELINE. Taking its title from the words of another rarely seen drama, PERICLES, this podcast explores the changing fortunes of these plays over time—and the theatrical challenges and rewards of staging them for modern audiences. Noah Brody is co-artistic director of Fiasco Theater, which produced Cymbeline in 2011 and, in 2014, at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Stephanie Coltrin is the managing director of Little Fish Theatre in California; she directed King John for Shakespeare by the Sea in San Pedro in 2013. Richard Schoch is a professor in the School of Creative Arts at Queens University, Belfast. ------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Geoff Oliver at the Sound Company in London and Angie Hamilton-Lowe at NPR West in Los Angeles.

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A New First Folio Discovery

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"As truth's authentic author to be cited, 'As true as Troilus' shall crown up the verse" —TROILUS AND CRESSIDA (3.2.182–183) Not long ago, the world learned of a remarkable discovery: An old book in a French library, acquired in the 1790s, was identified as an unknown copy of the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare—the first collection of Shakespeare's plays. Before this find, there were 232 known First Folios in the entire world. Now, there are 233. Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series, talks with Eric Rasmussen, who authenticated the French discovery. An expert on the First Folio, Rasmussen gets the call when someone, anywhere in the world, thinks they may have found another copy. Along the way, he's amassed some fascinating stories and observations about one of the world's most iconic rare books. Join us for a conversation about the French First Folio, other distinctive copies, and the modern collectors, scholars, thieves, and Folio hunters who fall under the First Folio's spell. Eric Rasmussen is chair of the English department at the University of Nevada, Reno, and author of "The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue." ------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We also had help from A.J. Kenneson at radio station KUNR in Reno, Nevada.

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Pronouncing English as Shakespeare Did

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue." —HAMLET (3:2:1–2) When Shakespeare wrote his lines, and actors first spoke them, how did they say the words—and what does that tell us? Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks "original pronunciation" (OP) with Shakespearean actor Ben Crystal and his father, linguist David Crystal, one of the world's foremost researchers on how English was spoken in Shakespeare's time. Filled with lively banter as well as familiar lines spoken in OP, the conversation offers a different perspective on the plays, from the puns and rhymes hidden by modern pronunciation to added meanings and the opportunity for quicker speech. Ben Crystal is a Shakespearean actor who has appeared through Great Britain and the United States. David Crystal, Ben Crystal's father, is a linguist, editor, lecturer, and author of more than 100 books, including "The Stories of English," "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language," and "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language." ---------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Esther French at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Geoff Oliver at the Sound Company in London, and Jonathan Charry at WAMU radio in Washington, DC.

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Brave New Worlds: The Shakespearean Moons of Uranus

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


Sometimes it seems you can hear or see traces of Shakespeare just about anywhere on Earth. But how about around the planet Uranus, which had not even been discovered in Shakespeare's time? In this celestial edition, Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series, traces the quirky, fascinating, and little-known tale of the 27 known moons of Uranus—nearly all of which have Shakespearean names. Through the voices of historians, actors, and modern scientists, "Brave New Worlds" tells the story behind that curious fact, starting with the planet's discovery in 1781 and continuing through Voyager 2's flyby in 1986 and the discoveries of still more moons in recent years. From the Uranian moons Ariel, Oberon, Titania, and Miranda, to Ferdinand, Caliban, and Cordelia (to name only a few), join us on a literary-scientific trip to the outer solar system you won't soon forget. Michael Crowe is an emeritus professor of liberal arts at Notre Dame University. Brett Gladman is a professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Lisa Grossman is a writer for New Scientist magazine. Michael Hoskin is a professor at Cambridge University. JJ Kevelaars is an astronomer at the National Research Council Canada. Tobias Owen is a professor at the Institute for Astronomy associated with the University of Hawaii. Derek Sears is a research scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center. Scott Sheppard is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. ---------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had an enormous amount of help gathering material for this podcast. In particular, we would like to thank Jennifer Blue of the US Geological Survey, Bradford Smith of the International Astronomical Union, Dale Cruikshank at NASA's Ames Research Center, and David DeVorkin, senior curator of astronomy and space sciences at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Esther French and Georgianna Ziegler of the Folger Shakespeare Library provided additional assistance. Voice recreations were performed by Anthony Reuben and Elena Burger. We had technical help from Jean Cochran and Britta Greene.

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Codes and Ciphers from the Renaissance to Today

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions..." —HAMLET (4.5.83) It's a striking comment that occurs late in this podcast—and by the time you hear it, you may well agree: "Without Bacon and Shakespeare, we might not have won the war in the Pacific," says Bill Sherman, head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum and professor of Renaissance studies at the University of York. Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with Sherman about the flowering of codes, ciphers, and secret message systems during the Renaissance—including a brilliant cipher devised by Francis Bacon—and their surprising influence on modern cryptography. As Sherman explains, William Friedman, the top US cryptographer whose team broke the Japanese diplomatic code before World War II, had once been a junior staffer on a team that sought to find Bacon's real-life cipher embedded in the plays of Shakespeare (a once-popular notion that he and his wife and fellow cryptographer Elizebeth later debunked). That early exposure to Renaissance cryptography shaped Friedman's career, as he soon became the founder of modern American cryptography. Listen to learn more about why you might say that Bacon and Shakespeare—through their influence on Friedman—did indeed help to win the war. --------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Recorded by Toby Schreiner.

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When Romeo Was a Woman

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"I will assume thy part in some disguise And tell fair Hero I am Claudio" —MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING(1.1.316) The actress Charlotte Cushman was a theatrical icon in 19th century America, known to the press by her first name, like Beyonce today. Her fame was not, however, for conventionally Victorian feminine portrayals. Cushman specialized in playing male roles, principally Romeo and Hamlet, competing on equal terms with leading actors like Edwin Forrest and Edwin Booth. She was not the only actress of her time to attempt these parts, but Cushman’s style was uniquely assertive and athletic. When Queen Victoria saw Cushman as Romeo, she said she couldn’t believe it was a woman playing the part. Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series, interviews Lisa Merrill, professor in the Department of Performance Studies at Hofstra University and author of "When Romeo Was a Woman," about Cushman’s professional and personal life, including her off-stage romantic partnerships with women and her changing public image after death. ----------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. With help from Larry Josephson and Robert Auld.

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Romeo and Juliet Through the Ages

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." —ROMEO AND JULIET(5.3.320) Though the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet is a perennial favorite, the world around the play has changed in the four centuries since it was first performed. Shifting attitudes about taboo love and marriage, gender roles, and even guns and street violence inform the way we read or see the play today. Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series, talks with theater scholars and artists about how ROMEO AND JULIET has been cut and molded to fit certain cultural expectations in different time periods. Among those featured in this podcast: - Libby Appel is the former director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. - Joe Calarco is the adaptor and original director of Shakespeare’s R&J. - Linda Charnes is professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington. - Michael Kahn is artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. - Peggy O'Brien is director of education at Folger Shakespeare Library. - Lindsey Row-Heyveld is assistant professor of English at Luther College in Iowa. - Anne Russell is an associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. ----------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. The music was composed and arranged by Lenny Williams. We had help gathering material for this podcast series from Esther French.

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Music in Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song, That old and antique song we heard last night." —Twelfth Night (2.4.3) Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, interviews Ross W. Duffin, professor at Case Western University, about musical hints in Shakespeare that have been flying over the heads of most audiences and readers for 400 years. Duffin is the author of the award-winning "Shakespeare's Songbook" (2004), a title that only suggests the book's broader story. Duffin includes the songs performed within Shakespeare's plays—but also those that are not sung, but simply alluded to. Familiar to audiences of the day, these songs' words or phrases added meaning to the plays—long-lost implications and suggestions that his book seeks to restore. ----------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. We had help gathering material for this podcast series from Amy Arden.

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Artistic Directors Talk Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"And by that destiny to perform an act / Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come / In yours and my discharge." (The Tempest, 2.1.288) Shakespeare's words and stories may be timeless, but what does that mean when you stage his plays for a modern American audience? That's a challenge that artistic directors relish as they explore the plays' many possibilities. This podcast looks at some of the ingenious approaches they’ve come up with, as well as the thinking behind them. "What's Past Is Prologue" features the voices of artistic directors from Oregon to Minneapolis to Washington, DC. These interviews were first conducted for the Folger's NEH-funded radio documentary series, "Shakespeare in American Life," produced in 2007 to commemorate the Folger's 75th anniversary. ------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster. The music was composed and arranged by Lenny Williams. We had help gathering material for this podcast series from Amy Arden.

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Shakespeare and Insane Asylums

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t." (Hamlet, 2.2.223) Plenty of people today consider Shakespeare a literary genius, a pillar of theater history, a gifted writer of timeless love poems, and more. But even the most over-the-top contemporary admirer of Shakespeare is unlikely to consider him a pioneer of modern medical science... much less forensic psychiatry. Hard as it may be to believe, however, there was a strange period in American history when that's exactly how William Shakespeare was seen in both law and medicine. Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, interviews Benjamin Reiss, a professor in the English department at Emory University and the author of a book called "Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture." "From the mid-1840s through about the mid-1860s in the United States, during the first generation of American psychiatry, no figure was cited as an authority on insanity and mental functioning more frequently than William Shakespeare," says Reiss. Such citations were not just in medical journals, he adds, but in sworn legal testimony. The reason, we learn in this podcast, was essentially this: Modern psychiatry was a fledgling field, regarded with distrust and little respect by many Americans. What it needed, above all, was authority—and what better, more respected authority than the great playwright? Join us to explore this curious yet fascinating intersection between civil society and William Shakespeare. ------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Recorded by Toby Schreiner.

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Why Shakespeare's Stories Still Resonate

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"I prithee speak to me as to thy thinkings," (Othello, 3.3.152) How do Shakespeare's works, written so long ago, still speak to us today? Just as actors and directors strive to work out this question on the stage, the academy continues to find new meaning in Shakespeare, too. Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with scholars Gail Kern Paster and Jeremy Lopez about why we continue to learn something new from Shakespeare's plays more than four hundred years after their first performance. Gail Kern Paster is director emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Jeremy Lopez is an associate professor of English at the University of Toronto and former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Folger. ------------------ From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington. We had help gathering material for this podcast series from Amy Arden.

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Shakespeare LOL: All Mirth and No Matter

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"I was born to speak all mirth and no matter." (Much Ado About Nothing, 2.1.323) Let's face it: Modern audiences sometimes go from roaring with laughter to scratching their heads when it comes to enjoying Shakespeare's jokes four hundred years later. How (and why) has "what's funny" changed over the years—and what's still a guaranteed belly laugh? Theater artists and scholars, along with narrator Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, take an amusing, sometimes surprising, look at things that were funny in Shakespeare's time, but not so much now—as well as gems of Shakespearean comedy that still sparkle today. Among those featured in this podcast: - Michael Green is the author of The Art of Coarse Acting. - Robert Hornback is associate professor of English, comparative literatures, and theatre and chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literatures at Oglethorpe University. - Austin Tichenor is a writer, performer, and managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. He also produces and hosts the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast. - Adam Zucker is an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of the book "The Places of Wit in Early Modern English Comedy." -------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul, an author and documentary producer who is also a long-time member of Washington's own Capitol Steps singing comedy troupe. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help gathering material for this podcast from Esther French. We also had help from Candice Ludlow, Jane Degenhardt, Ian Briggs, and Andrea Bath. Original music composed and arranged by Lenny Williams.

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Shakespeare in Translation

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art translated!" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3.1.120-121) What happens when Shakespeare’s work is translated into foreign languages? Is it still Shakespeare? Or does something fundamental to the original evaporate in the process? Scholars and theater artists, with Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, look at what constitutes the essence of Shakespeare. A translator can retain the story, characters, and ideas of a play, but the intricate wordplay proves much more difficult. For one thing, it’s impossible to translate Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter into a language like Korean, in which poetry is based on syllable counts, not stresses. And what is to be done with those well-crafted puns? However, translation also opens up possibilities for new depths of meaning, as the familiar recedes and a different perspective takes over. Among those featured in this podcast: - Joe Calarco is the adaptor and original director of Shakespeare’s R&J. - Rupert Chan is a writer and playwright who has translated multiple Shakespeare plays into Cantonese. - Joe Dowling is the artistic director for the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota. - Alexa Huang is a professor of English, theater and dance, East Asian languages and literatures, and international affairs at George Washington University. - Ah-Jeong Kim is a professor of theater history at California State University–Northridge. - Hyonu Lee is a professor at Soon Chun Hyang University in South Korea. ------------------ From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Edited by Garland Scott, Gail Kern Paster, and Esther Ferington. We had help gathering material for this podcast series from Amy Arden.

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Punk Rock Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Here will we sit and let the sounds of music / Creep in our ears" (The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.63-64) How can young people connect with Shakespeare? It's a question that confronts each generation. Members of Taffety Punk, a Washington, DC, theater company, have taken to heart the mission of bringing Shakespeare into the 21st century. Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with Taffety Punk founding member and Artistic Director Marcus Kyd about how he and a group of classically trained actors—who are also ex-punk rockers—are giving new meaning to the term "band of players." From Bootleg performances of Shakespeare's plays—rehearsed and staged in a day—to Riot Grrrls all-female Shakespeare, recordings of punk versions of Shakespeare's Sonnet 71 and Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech from ROMEO AND JULIET, and the Generator series of experimental works, Taffety Punk is defining Shakespeare for a new generation of theatergoers and theater makers. Marcus Kyd is a founding member and artistic director of Taffety Punk Theatre Company. Taffety Punk Theatre Company's mission is to establish a dynamic ensemble of actors, dancers, and musicians who ignite a public passion for theater by making the classical and the contemporary exciting, meaningful, and affordable. Taffety Punk received the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at the 2008 Helen Hayes Awards. ---------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer.

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Shakespeare Outdoors

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"Under the greenwood tree / Who loves to lie with me / And turn his merry note / Unto the sweet bird’s throat, / Come hither, come hither, come hither. / Here shall he see / No enemy / But winter and rough weather." (As You Like It, 2.5.1-8) Pack the picnic basket. Grab a blanket. Don't forget the bug spray. Shakespeare under the stars is a long-standing tradition in America—and elsewhere in the English-speaking world and beyond. Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with scholars and theater artists about the social and cultural forces that came together to create outdoor Shakepeare festivals. (Hint: The tradition starts a lot sooner than you might think!) Among those featured in this podcast: - Libby Appel is former Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. - Charlotte Canning is a professor in the theater and dance department of the University of Texas at Austin. - Michael Dobson is director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham in England. - Frank Hildy is a professor of theater at the University of Maryland. - Scott Kaiser is the head of voice and text at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. ----------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help gathering material for this Shakespeare Unlimited episode from Esther French. Thanks to Nick Moorbath at Evolution Studios in Oxford England and Eddie Wallace at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The music was composed and arranged by Lenny Williams.

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In Search of the Real Richard III

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"I, that am rudely stamped..." (Richard III, 1.1.16) Shakespeare not only talked about his own times; he also wrote history plays that showed us the past—though it was a past filtered through the politics and prejudices of Shakespeare's present. Questions about this came up recently when a body was found in a Leicester, England, parking lot. That body is now widely believed to be that of King Richard III. Among the many issues raised, along with that body, are questions about who the real Richard III was, versus the dramatic character that we've all come to know from stage and film. In search of that answer, Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with an expert on the historic Richard III, David Baldwin, and an expert on Shakespeare's Richard III, Michael Dobson. Meanwhile, historian Retha Warnicke explains the practical challenges of any research into Richard's long-ago time. David Baldwin is a medieval historian who has taught at the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham. His book "Richard III" was published by Amberley in 2012. Michael Dobson is Director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham in England. Retha Warnicke is Professor of History at Arizona State University. ----------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Thanks to Hannah Tucker at the University of Leicester for her help.

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Actresses on Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


"All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players." (As You Like It, 2.7.146-147) In Shakespeare's time, only men appeared on stage, with teenage boys playing the women's parts. Today, women play women and sometimes men—and vice-versa. In this podcast we have gathered some of the best-known actresses in the Folger's home town, Washington, DC—Naomi Jacobsen, Cam Magee, Francelle Stewart Dorn, Victoria Reinsel, Charlene V Smith, and Holly Twyford—to talk about their experiences on stage with Shakespeare. The all-female staging of RICHARD III was produced for Brave Spirit Theater, with Jenna Berk as George, Duke of Clarence. First Murderer was Rachel Hynes; Second Murderer was Tina Renay Fulp. ---------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. The music in the piece was composed and arranged by Lenny Williams. We had help gathering material for Shakespeare Unlimited from Amy Arden.

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The Robben Island Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


While Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on South Africa's Robben Island, one of the other political prisoners managed to retain a copy of Shakespeare's complete works, which was secretly circulated through the group. At that prisoner's request, many of the others—including Mandela—signed their names next to their favorite passages. As Shakespeare scholar David Schalkwyk, also a South African, explains to interviewer Rebecca Sheir, there is something special about "a book that had passed through the hands of the people who had saved my country." Schalkwyk shares some personal history and reveals what Shakespeare might have meant to the men who signed the Robben Island Shakespeare. David Schalkwyk is Professor of English at the University of Cape Town and, beginning in 2009, has served as Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library and editor of "Shakespeare Quarterly." He is also the author of "Speech and Performance in Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Plays," "Literature and the Touch of the Real," and "Shakespeare, Love and Service." His most recent book, "Hamlet’s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare," was published in February 2013. ---------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer.

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Designing Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Feb 25, 2015


“And I hope here is a play fitted.” —A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1.2.63) There's an old Broadway saying (sometimes attributed to Richard Rodgers) that "No one ever walked out of a theater humming the scenery." Nevertheless, costume and scenery designers can be vital to the success of a play. In this episode of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, Steve Martin talks with Denise Walen about the sweeping changes in costumes, scenery, and other staging choices in the 400 years since Shakespeare's time. From elaborate settings and carefully researched costumes that were meant to educate audiences, to modernist stripped-down sets or fanciful reimaginings, Shakespeare productions have long responded to the theater choices of their day. As for the future, Walen is sure: whatever changes lie ahead, Shakespeare's plays will still take the stage. Denise Walen is an associate professor in the Department of Drama at Vassar College. She was the curator of "Here Is a Play Fitted," a Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition. ------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Steve Martin is the former program director of WAMU public radio in Washington, DC.

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African Americans and Shakespeare

Author: Folger Shakespeare Library
Wed, Feb 25, 2015


"Freedom, high-day! High-day, freedom! Freedom, high-day, freedom!" —THE TEMPEST(2.2.192-193) In this second of two podcasts on Shakespeare and the African American experience, "Freedom, Hey-Day! Hey-Day, Freedom!" examines some of the many ways—including, but not limited to, performance—that black Americans have encountered, responded to, taken ownership of, and sometimes turned away from Shakespeare's words. Rebecca Sheir, host of the Shakespeare Unlimited series, narrates this expansive, interview-filled look at the intersection between African American life and Shakespeare, from stage productions to personal and academic encounters with the texts. Kim Hall is a professor of English at Barnard College. Caleen Sinnette Jennings is a professor of theater at American University in Washington, DC. Bernth Lindfors is professor emeritus of history at the University of Texas. Francesca Royster is a professor of English at DePaul University. Shane White is a professor of history at the University of Sydney in Australia. -------------------- From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. Edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help gathering material for the Shakespeare Unlimited series from Esther French. We also had help from Britta Greene and Anne Marie Baldonado at Fresh Air with Terry Gross, who gave us their 1987 recording of August Wilson. Original music composed and arranged by Lenny Williams. The title of this episode uses an alternate spelling ("hey-day") in quoting Caliban's exclamation; it is "high-day" in the Folger Digital Texts edition of THE TEMPEST.

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