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Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast

“One of the Top 10 Podcasts for Theatre Fans!” (Broadway World) Since 2006, this “bright, breezy, & entertaining” (The Telegraph) podcast demystifies the creative process in chats with some of the sharpest and funniest artists in the business: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic! Brian Dennehy! Playwright Lauren Gunderson! Director Mary Zimmerman! Novelist Christopher Moore! Comedian Rachel Parris! Shakespearean Sir Stanley Wells! And so many less! HEAR HERE!

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“One of the Top 10 Podcasts for Theatre Fans!” (Broadway World) Since 2006, this “bright, breezy, & entertaining” (The Telegraph) podcast demystifies the creative process in chats with some of the sharpest and funniest artists in the business: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic! Brian Dennehy! Playwright Lauren Gunderson! Director Mary Zimmerman! Novelist Christopher Moore! Comedian Rachel Parris! Shakespearean Sir Stanley Wells! And so many less! HEAR HERE!

Staging “Athena”‘s Fencing

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David Blixt is the co-fight choreographer of the Writers Theatre production of Gracie Gardner's Athena, directed by Jessica Fisch and featuring two stand-out performances by Aja Singletary (right) and Mary Tilden (left). David discusses the things that make this production unique in his experience; the importance of being a storyteller; the language of the body; the value of creating theater as an ensemble; how distance equals danger; why the actors had to actually hit each other; and how stage violence is always a story of desire and denial. (Length 16:24)

The post Staging “Athena”‘s Fencing appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

May 16 2022

16mins

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Christopher Moore’s ‘Razzmatazz’

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Christopher Moore’s latest comic novel Razzmatazz is a sequel to his 2018 novel Noir, a wonderfully funny and satisfying novel of reinvention that depicts San Francisco’s seedy but fabulous underbelly in post-war 1940s San Francisco. Chris discusses how Razzmatazz came out of the research he did into the history of San Francisco for Noir; how he manages to find the funny in serious subjects; the fun of jumping around in time; the importance of following Shakespeare’s example by adding comic relief to serious subjects; giving readers a win; the ah-ha! moment of realizing a secondary character in Noir can become a protagonist in Razzmatazz; how not to get bogged down in a consistent point of view; which characters got moxie and which characters don’t; the surprisingly long wait for the perfect synopsis; and the origin (and surprising new definition) of the title. (Length 25:35)

The post Christopher Moore’s ‘Razzmatazz’ appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

May 10 2022

25mins

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Shakespeare Lightning Round

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Austin Tichenor was a guest on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Instagram Live series Shakespeare Lightning Round, a hugely fun format where guests from all corners of the Shakespeare world answer rapid-fire questions about all aspects of Shakespeare. Host Ben Lauer, the Folger’s Social Media and Communications Manager, hurls thirty rapid-fire questions at Austin, who reveals his favorite prop, his favorite Midsummer mechanical, and his favorite Shakespeare ghost; which Shakespeare moments have made him cry; how the RSC set a Guinness World’s Record; his favorite Shakespeare play he’s never got to work on; and how not getting #SnakesOnAPlane trending is such a missed opportunity. In the words of Shakespeare himself, strap in. (Length 23:14)

The post Shakespeare Lightning Round appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

May 02 2022

23mins

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RSC D&D One-Shot

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Chad Yarish served as the Dungeon Master for the RSC's very first Dungeons & Dragons campaign – certainly the very first one we recorded for a podcast. While long by podcast standards, this was incredibly short for a D&D campaign, and features the importance of a working knowledge of vampire lore; dead guys both talkative and disappearing; a surprising and very special appearance by the Bardic composer of Guys and Dolls; the difficulty of choosing between the Rooms of Weeping, the Larder of Ill-Omens, and the Pantry of Pleasure; inexplicable and unconscious invocations of Once Upon a Mattress; and the heroic and cathartic power of invoking the Brown Noise. (Length 1:05:11)

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Apr 27 2022

1hr 5mins

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Thing Of Darkness

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What if Shakespeare didn't die on April 23, 1616, and instead sailed to the New World? Novelist Allan Batchelder (the Immortal Treachery series) dives into speculative historical fiction to investigate this very question in his new novel This Thing of Darkness, which imagines the aging playwright creating a new family of outsiders amidst tension between their fellow English settles, the suspicious Powhatans, and a creature out of legend. Allan discusses his novel's origins; how much of the historical record fuels his imagination; how he dives into and refutes various Authorship theories; how spite is a powerful motivator; how his experience as an actor, educator, former stand-up comedian and Girl Scout (!) influences his writing; how he navigates the dangers of writing from on-high; and the fun of positing a different kind of a relationship between William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. (Length 20:13)

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Apr 18 2022

20mins

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Hail, Richard II

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The African-American Shakespeare Company production of Richard II, in a new Play On! translation by Naomi Iizuka, runs this weekend and next April 15-24, 2022, at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco. Director L. Peter Callender and star Lijesh Krishnan discuss the creation of this production; the return to live performances with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] (and how it will travel to Shakespeare in Detroit in May, 2022); the open secret of how Shakespeare gets adapted and translated all the time; unnecessarily nice words about Reed Martin; the distinction between common people and the masses; the difference between the quality of the jokes and the people saying the jokes; the promise of opening night drinks; and the importance of rewarding audiences for returning to live performances. (Length 21:31)

The post Hail, Richard II appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Apr 11 2022

21mins

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Episode 800! Hail, ‘King James’!

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For our landmark 800th episode, we're joined by Rajiv Joseph, the Obie-winning playwright and screenwriter whose Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, talking about his new play King James, now in its final week at Steppenwolf Theater before its month-long run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Rajiv talks about how the play found its ultimate shape; the bona fides and credibility he brings to the topic; the theatrical pageantry of sporting events, and how some of that invaluable arena energy is brought into the theater; the largely unexplored area of the emotional impact of sports; and our shared belief that the subject of sports remains fruitful and largely unexplored territory in the theater. (Length 17:44)

The post Episode 800! Hail, ‘King James’! appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Apr 04 2022

17mins

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Are You Here?

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A veteran of film, TV, and Broadway, Jim Ortlieb stars in John Kolvenbach’s Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, a tour-de-force one-person play about what it means to struggle to survive, to move on, to connect, and to find community again. Now in its Chicago premiere at the American Blues Theater, the noted film, stage, and TV actor talks about the challenge of acting by himself...but with an entire audience; how behavior reveals meaning; how the death of Hal Holbrook inspired the play; the importance of mourning and how we, as a culture, aren’t that good at at; that moment when spouses figure you out; how this one play might become a life's work; and navigating that line where the character stops and where the actor begins. (Length 19:53)

The post Are You Here? appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Mar 28 2022

19mins

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Back To Rehearsal

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Last week we gathered in the RSC’s hometown of Sonoma, California to finally return to Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel) since the last time we performed it back in 2019. Original cast members Doug Harvey, Austin Tichenor, and Chad Yarish talk about what it's like to back on their feet; how they survived this "long intermission;" how it was time to retire from cracking nuts; the promise of a possible live RSC D&D one-shot; some important pandemic pivots; the importance of crystallizing our purpose; the (hopefully only temporary) end of an RSC tradition; and how the themes of Hamlet’s Big Adventure! (a prequel) have become surprisingly resonant and more comically powerful in the intervening two years. (Length 18:41)

The post Back To Rehearsal appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Mar 22 2022

18mins

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Untamed Shrews Podcast

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Dawn Tucker, Hannah Fontes, and Becki Zaritsky are the hosts of the Untamed Shrews Podcast, a production of Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival (where Dawn and Hannah are the Executive and Marketing Directors, respectively, and Becki is the former production manager). The three Shrews discuss their work with Flagstaff Shakes and how the pandemic inspired the podcast's creation, and how they bring their irreverence and humor not only to podcasting but to Shakespeare and theater. FEATURING: an RSC Podcast first; how Dawn is livin’ the dream; how shrews need love, too; how their specific skillset allows a trapeze Winter’s Tale; the state of the arts in Arizona (or at least in Flagstaff); wisdom from a Shakespearean elder; and how FlagShakes may be the only theater company in Arizona that doesn’t own a fog machine. (Length 25:05)

The post Untamed Shrews Podcast appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Mar 15 2022

25mins

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Revealing Naked Emperors

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Reed Martin remembers seeing the 1985 production of Merrily We Roll Along, the troubled musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth that found its final form (according to Sondheim) at the La Jolla Playhouse when it was directed by James Lapine. Reed and Austin struggle to find the greatness that everyone else sees, and discuss what compels them to take icons like Sondheim and Shakespeare off their pedestals; how one story created rare flops from two hit-making teams; the multiple intersections of Austin and John Rubinstein; the trouble with problematic female leads; the relief of having built-in happy endings; how the best thing to come out of Merrily We Roll Along just might be the documentary about its making Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened; the desire to not diminish anyone’s greatness; the problem with veneration; and the importance of pointing out that sometimes the emperor isn’t as fully clothed as everybody thinks. (Length 16:33)

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Mar 09 2022

16mins

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To Decolonize Shakespeare

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

The post To Decolonize Shakespeare appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Feb 28 2022

16mins

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Shakespeare In Paradise

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Shakespeare In Paradise, an annual festival committed to exposing Bahamian audiences to a range of productions from classical theatre traditions around the world while celebrating and developing Bahamian Theater artists. Co-founded in 2009 by Nicolette Bethel, Shakespeare In Paradise is the only international theater festival of its kind in the Caribbean, and Nicolette talks about the festival's origins; the complicated nature of what the words "Shakespeare" and "paradise" actually mean; how Shakespeare in Paradise is slowly but officially becoming the national theater of The Bahamas; why there’s been resistance to Shakespeare throughout the Caribbean; how a seven-person Measure For Measure transformed perceptions of how Shakespeare can be done; how certain of his plays speak to certain audiences; how certain of his plays maybe just shouldn’t be done anymore; and how Shakespeare In Paradise is creating new generations of people who aren’t afraid of Shakespeare. (Length 18:15)

The post Shakespeare In Paradise appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Feb 22 2022

18mins

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Mike And Mandy

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The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s own Michael Faulkner and his wife, actor Amanda Pajer, have created new musical identities as Mike & Mandy, writing and producing new music that’s being heard and buzzed about all over the world. For this special Valentine’s Day episode, they discuss working together as a couple and the process of collaboration; how they survived the pandemic by turning it into an opportunity; the danger of doing Twitter all wrong; how their eclectic and diverse musical tastes make it difficult to define their "brand"; the fun of upgrading both your equipment and your skillset; and the amazing moment when you discover you already know everything you need to know. (Length 21:52)

The post Mike And Mandy appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Feb 14 2022

21mins

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Netta Walker’s ‘Homecoming’

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Netta Walker, one of the stars of All-American: Homecoming and a stage actor who spent time in Chicago, discusses how her stage experience compares with her TV experience, and, amazingly, how one of her early formative experiences was with the Reduced Shakespeare Company (!). FEATURING: her debut on the stage of Lincoln Center; where she got her early professional experience; being blessed with supportive parents; the value of seeing Shakespeare performed (even by us) before studying it as literature; being part of the original cast of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley; how to avoid the stress of trying to guess what a director wants in an audition; and where she gets her (for want of a better word) confidence. (Length 16:07) 

The post Netta Walker’s ‘Homecoming’ appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Feb 08 2022

16mins

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Surviving Theatre School

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Gina Pulice and Jen Bosworth-Ramirez are the hosts of the “I Survived Theatre School Podcast”, which started as a pandemic project, but has become a fantastic ongoing conversation about the things we learned in theatre school, the things we didn’t learn, and how we’ve all managed to survive: some of us in the theatre, and some of us in other fields. Austin Tichenor was a guest on their podcast and now returns the favor, letting Gina and Bos talk about how their podcast came to be and what it’s now become. FEATURING: the value of active listening, both within the theatre and without; the counterintuitive freedom of a rigid schedule; the joy of “psychological spelunking;” how one can become a reimagined artist; and how something that didn’t start out to be a “self-help” podcast has turned out to be, for its listeners, remarkably healing. (Length 19:15)

The post Surviving Theatre School appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Jan 31 2022

19mins

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New York Classical

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Just what New York needs – another theater, right?! Yet New York Classical Theatre has carved a valuable niche by presenting all-free productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces in public spaces throughout New York City. Founding Artistic Director Stephen Burdman talks about how the company began; how the importance of access drives everything; the blessing of producing in a city filled with thousands of wonderful professional actors; the value of always telling the truth; the development of the concept of “panoramic theater;” and one of the greatest helicopter interruptions ever. #ThanksObama Did we mention their productions are all-free?! (Length 19:53)

The post New York Classical appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Jan 24 2022

19mins

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Expanding The Canon

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Emily Lyon and Shannon Corinthen are the artistic and producing directors of the Hedgepig Ensemble in Brooklyn, NY, and two of the hosts of “This is a Classic: The Expand The Canon Theatre Podcast,” an outgrowth of Hedgepig's mission to uplift the legacy of women and non-binary writers. Shannon and Emily talk about the plethora of plays out there by underrepresented writers; how they curate their annual "Expand The Canon" lists; how many plays they read each other to create their suggestions; how Hedgepig is committed to expanding the canon by commissioning new works and new translations; the surprising timelessness of so many of these plays; and how so many of them would fit into a theater's season so much better than some of the overdone and less-worthy plays that get done now. (Length 20:35)

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Jan 17 2022

20mins

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Running The Gamut

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

The post Running The Gamut appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Jan 11 2022

20mins

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Inspiration And Transformation

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Last week's podcast about an uneasy correspondence with Stephen Sondheim prompts this first podcast of 2022! Matt Croke joins us to dig into the question of where artistic inspiration comes from, and how artists transform their influences into art. Featuring comic influences that have inspired the RSC (in both spoken word and musical form); finding more meat on the bone; the importance of acknowledging your influences and knowing what else has been done; how Elvis Costello responded to a similar question of influence; and a parody excerpt from the Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show. (Length 33:16)

The post Inspiration And Transformation appeared first on Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Jan 04 2022

33mins

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iTunes Ratings

105 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Reviewing Expectations

By Reduced Reviewer - Feb 05 2018
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Love the guests. Love the list of upcoming dates. No kidding!

Always a good listen

By @PaulBurkett1 - Apr 04 2017
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Austin keeps us up to date on the shows and tours and has great guests