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The State of Shakespeare

Great Interviews with Great Artists. We’re talking Shakespeare.

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Scott Newstok

How to Think Like ShakespeareMay 31, 2020What can we learn about the state of modern education by taking a look back at how young pupils were schooled during Shakespeare’s day?   Our guest Scott Newstok shares some collected wisdom from his book How to Think Like Shakespeare, which has us wondering: when education policy makers prioritize standardized testing, digital instruction and virtual learning environments over more traditional methods, could today’s students be losing more than they are gaining?  Click here to visit Scott Newstok's webpage.


31 May 2020

Rank #1

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David Hammond

Henry V: PrologueChorusMay 31, 2018Like a great Jazz Musician, Shakespeare uses Iambic pentameter as the underlying time signature to his rhetorical flourishes.  David Hammond explores this and many other ways of approaching the first playwright to give his characters language that pursues objective actions.Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for a First Folio version of the text.Click here for a scanned version of the text.


30 May 2018

Rank #2

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Maria-Christina Oliveras and Nance Williamson

Macbeth  Act 1, Scene 7Macbeth July 20, 2016Something wicked this way comes!  Maria-Christina Oliveras and Nance Williamson are two-thirds of a three woman Macbeth playing at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.  They explore how Macbeth's "vaulting ambition" resonates today, the challenges of doing a three woman play and how the weather changes everything!Click here to follow along with the speech.Click here for the First Folio Version.Click here for a scanned version.

20 Jul 2016

Rank #3

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Liz Wisan: Clown

Liz Wisan is a member of the New Neighborhood, a theater company in NYC.  She also works seriously as a clown.  Although she admits that sometimes it feels like she is in a cult, she finds the clown work extremely rewarding as an actor.  Check this short interview out!And here is her full interview about working on Kate in Taming of the Shrew!


13 Aug 2018

Rank #4

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Scott Kaiser

Love's Labour's WonWar/PrologueApril 10, 2015Why does everybody hate Rhetoric but love wordplay?  Scott Kaiser, author and Oregon Shakespeare Festival Director of Company Development, can't repeat it often enough: take my epizeuxis please!Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for a scanned version of the text.


10 Apr 2015

Rank #5

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A New Approach to Actor Training

John Patrick lays out a bold new vision for the future of training actors.  Could we all be Acting Teachers?Listen to his full interview here.


20 Sep 2018

Rank #6

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Bill Brochtrup

The Antaeus Theater Co. April 21, 2015 Bill Brochtrup joins the State of Shakespeare to talk the 99 seat theater plan and it's future in Los Angeles, The Antaeus Company and the benefits of partner casting.Antaeus is a cooperative theater ensemble founded to empower the actor and to bring classical theater to Los Angeles. The company exists to create a family of artists and audiences and is dedicated to exploring stories with enduring themes. Taking their company name from the Titan who gained strength by touching the Earth, Antaeus members — many of whom are familiar to film and television audiences — regain their creative strength by returning to the wellspring of their craft: live theater. Members of the company span a wide range of age, ethnicity and experience; they have performed on Broadway, at major regional theaters across the country, in film, television and on local stages, and are the recipients of numerous accolades including Tony, Los Angeles and New York Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly, and Back Stage Garland nominations and awards. Audiences, who never see an understudy due to Antaeus’ trademark “partner casting,” frequently return to see the same play in the hands of an equally excellent but very different set of actors.


21 Apr 2015

Rank #7

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Jenny Bennett

Shakespeare in Taiwan April 12, 2019 Shakespeare in AmericaJenny Bennett, a fourth generation theater creator, has been doing #Shakespeare since she was knee high to a grasshopper. From Harlem, to Staunton, Virginia, all the way to Taiwan, she listens with her eyes and looks with her ears while she explores the intersection between communication and language.


11 Apr 2019

Rank #8

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Michael Urie: Origin Story

Alone on stage and getting laughs, Michael Urie had a question.  The answer is not what he expected.Click here to listen to his interview on Hamlet.


15 Mar 2018

Rank #9

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William Downes

Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 7MacbethSeptember 27, 2019What do you get when you take the First Folio, add a little Original Practice and stir in a smattering of cue scripts? You get William Downes. The Artistic Director of Classics on the Rocks joins us to discuss all things Shakespeare. We surprise him with a lightning round of questions, the answers to which surprised even us! Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for a First Folio version of the text.Click here for a scanned version of the text.


27 Sep 2019

Rank #10

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Angus Vail

The Container GlobeJanuary 29, 2019Falstaff:  Henry IV, Part IAngus Vail Rocks! While running the business office for the band Kiss, Angus is building the Container Globe: a modern Globe Theater from re-purposed shipping containers. As entertaining as he is determined, Mr. Vail talks all the possibilities and obstacles he sees in this brilliant way of bringing Shakespeare to life. Oh, and he also does a pretty brilliant Falstaff!Click here to follow along with the text.


30 Jan 2019

Rank #11

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Devon Glover: The Sonnet Man

Sonnet 29October 6, 2014"The words you talk, that'll be the words you walk"  Devon Glover is spreading the Shakespeare word in a unique and refreshingly new way.  As The Sonnet Man, Devon is introducing Shakespeare to students by turning the Sonnets into hip hop masterpieces.  Putting Shakespeare to a beat connects young students to the text and teaches them about the verse at the same time.  It all adds up to one amazing interview as he discusses and performs Sonnet 29.Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for a scanned version of the text.Links to The Sonnet Man:www.SonnetMan.comwww.twitter.com/thesonnetmannycwww.facebook.com/TheSonnetManwww.instagram.com/teedome


6 Oct 2014

Rank #12

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Ray Dooley

The Tempest: Act 1, Scene 2ProsperoDecember 22, 2018JulieBillEngagementIf you have a lot of words, you have a lot of need. Ray Dooley has a lot to say. After over 40 years in the business his insights are second to none. Breaking down Act 1 of the Tempest, Ray makes a leap into acting principles that every actor needs to hear. Click here to follow along with the text


22 Dec 2018

Rank #13

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Shakespeare on the Road

Dr. Paul PrescottDr. Paul EdmondsonSeptember 5, 2014  It's a British Invasion!  Dr. Paul Edmondson and Dr. Paul Prescott have realized a true Shakespeare Midsummer dream.‘Shakespeare on the Road’ is the story of Shakespeare in contemporary North America told through an epic road trip in the summer of 2014.   In July and August, the team visited a range of Shakespeare festivals across the length and breadth of the US and Canada. Over 60 days, they traveled roughly 10,000 miles, saw dozens of Shakespeare productions and met hundreds of the people who – year in, year out – make Shakespeare happen across the continent.  Join us to hear the story of this fantastic journey of discovery and entertainment.Click here to visit the official Shakespeare on the Road website.


5 Sep 2014

Rank #14

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Patrena Murray

The Winter's Tale Act 3, Scene 2PaulinaDecember 15, 2017Have Bard, Will Travel!  The Public Theater's Mobil Unit brings Shakespeare all over the 5 boroughs of NYC.  Patrena Murray, playing Paulina in the Mobile Unit's production of The Winter's Tale, talks the audiences, the impact and of course what is going on in one of Shakespeare's most beloved "problem" plays.Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for a First Folio version of the text.Click here for a scanned version of the text.


15 Dec 2017

Rank #15

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Deborah Voorhees

Billy Shakespeare - The MovieNovember 17, 2014What if William Shakespeare were alive and writing today?  For writer/director/producer Deborah Voorhees, this curious question led to a feature length film.  Billy Shakespeare - The Movie is an irreverent tale about a modern day Shakespeare.  The film trifles with Shakespeare's sexuality, slings arrows at his misogyny and toys with the term "lack-beard".  Join the fun from inspiration to final cut on this episode of the State of Shakespeare.Links to Billy Shakespeare - The Movie.www.billyshakespearethemovie.comIMDBAmazon


18 Nov 2014

Rank #16

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JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell

Twelfth Night November 27, 2018Shakespeare in Detroit, Black Ops Theater CompanyJaMeeka Holloway Burrell is on the rise.  The founder and Artistic Director of Black Ops Theater Company  just directed Twelfth Night at Shakespeare in Detroit.  Having discovered Shakespeare at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, JaMeeka approaches her work with fresh eyes, frank questions and aims to bring Shakespeare into the 21st Century.


28 Nov 2018

Rank #17

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Dave Hitz

The Play On! ProjectJuly 18, 2021Kenneth Cavender said, translations are like lovers.  The faithful ones aren’t beautiful, the beautiful ones aren’t faithful. Dave Hitz is putting this quote to the test with his ambitious Play On! Project - translating all of Shakespeare's plays to modern English. Mr. Hitz makes a compelling argument for the project, one that has stirred controversy wherever it goes. Click here to visit the Play On! Site.


23 Feb 2020

Rank #18

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Marion Adler

Much Ado About Nothing: Act 1, Scene 1BeatriceDecember 9, 2014Do the math!  What do you get when you cross "It's a Wonderful Life" with "His Girl Friday?"  It's a very merry Much Ado.  Actress Marion Adler joins us from the rehearsal hall at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's holiday-themed production of Much Ado About Nothing (begins December 6th at the F. M Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.)   Join us in a celebration of Beatrice from Act 1, Scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing.Click here to follow along with the text.Click here for the First Folio version of the text.


10 Dec 2014

Rank #19

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Deaon Griffin-Pressley

Twelfth Night: Act 4, Scene 3SebastianJuly 31, 2019“If it is poetry, it’s music.” Deaon Griffin-Pressley has gone from Florida to New York, BADA and finally landed at Shakespeare and Company. His travels have given him a unique perspective on Shakespeare, Acting and how his Art will change the world.Click here to follow along with the textClick here for a First Folio Version of the textClick here for a Scanned Version of the text.


31 Jul 2019

Rank #20