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Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters

There are 835,997 words in the plays of Shakespeare. Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters is a podcast where two theatre nerds watch productions of all 39 Shakespeare plays, and have a chat about the challenges and successes in adapting the work for modern stage and screen. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, or theatre, or just like to listen to people challenge their stamina for consuming iambic pentameter, this podcast is for you.

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Intermission: What's Past Is Prologue

Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge. So we’re a quarter of the way through the complete works of Shakespeare. We’re over 210 thousand words in, thirty two hours having elapsed of runtime, and 513 minutes of delicious, minty fresh podcast for you and yours.It was our intention to go straight through, fortnight after fortnight. We were not seasoned podcasters starting this process, and we’ve learned on the fly; and one of the things that we’ve learned is that this is much more difficult than it appears from the outside, and season breaks are actually very, very necessary. So, we’re taking a break.We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our listeners for joining us as we go through this odyssey. Don’t worry, however, because we’ll be back before you know it. Our next episode will be available in December, where we will be watching the 2014 RSC production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. We look forward to talking with you then!Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/ Instagram: @hsaulpodcast Twitter: @hsaulpodcast Editing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'Hagan Music by Luke O'Hagan Audio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1min

27 Oct 2020

Rank #1

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Richard II (2013)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Richard II, directed by Gregory Doran for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2013, filmed live at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and written in 1595 by William Shakespeare.What is a king? A miserable little pile of secrets. The tale of Richard the Second is that rarest of beasts; a piece of theatre in a very monarchist era that contains, and even to some extent glorifies, a coup dethroning the king. This is a play with two Kings of England; Henry the Fourth, who we’ll have two plays about in the near future, and Richard the Second; the least popular and least discussed of the royal Richards, he is a king mostly known for an excellent play detailing his demise written by the son of a glover from Warwickshire. This little scripted bit of the podcast has existed for a few reasons over the course of our podcast thus far: it’s been a place to make grand and sweeping statements about the place of Shakespeare in our modern lives, it’s been a place to make thinly veiled political jokes, but actually the initial intent for this paragraph was to explain why we chose the version of the play that we did. We’ve picked plays for lots of varied reasons, and some for no reason at all, but this one is very simple.Tammy’s a big Doctor Who fan, and putting David Tennant in a show is a surefire way to get her excited to watch it. So, there we are.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

52mins

13 Oct 2020

Rank #2

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Measure for Measure (2015)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Measure for Measure, directed by Dominic Dromgoole for the Globe Theatre in 2015, and written in 1604 by William Shakespeare.EPISODE NOTES: There’s a lot of discussion in the world about Shakespeare’s place in the English canon and education system, a lot of people saying that we’d have a better time of it if we used work that was more relevant to students and to modern life. We here at Heavenly Shows actually sort of agree with that--Shakespeare belongs in a drama class more than it does in every English class-- but we disagree with the notion that Shakespeare’s not relevant. It’s great drama, and great drama is work that talks about big ideas in the small context of actual people. What does a Shakespeare play relevant to 2020 look like? We watched Measure for Measure, and I couldn’t tell you- I mean, it’s about the nature of justice and mercy, and overreaching of the state when it comes to doing violence against human beings, and about corruption and how vital it is for us to emphasise ethical conduct when it comes to how we view our leaders: but I couldn’t possibly draw any lines between that and 2020. Maybe they’re right, nothing to learn at all.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

50mins

29 Sep 2020

Rank #3

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Bonus Episode: Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Ten Things I Hate About You (1999)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Kiss Me Kate, directed by George Sidney in 1953 with screenplay written by Dorothy Kingsley adapted from the stage musical by Cole Porter, and Ten Things I Hate About You, directed by Gil Junger in 1999 and written by Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, both based on Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare in 1603.EPISODE NOTES: It is well said that Shakespeare’s stories are timeless in their core themes and so it comes as no surprise that his works have been re-told and re-fashioned time and time again. We thought to ourselves, you know what, 39 standard tellings of Shakespeare just aren’t enough for us - we are going to add some BONUS content! And so here we are on our tenth episode bringing you a taste of the modern bard. The two shows we watched this week are re-tellings of last episode’s Taming of the Shrew, and I have to say these two movies are some of my favourites. One is a classic MGM Studio 1950’s era movie musical and the other is a classic Hollywood 1990’s era teen movie. If you’ve ever thought you would like to participate in the friendly banter about our takes on the productions we watch, this might be a readily accessible version of Shakespeare’s story for you to dip your toe!Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/ Instagram: @hsaulpodcast Twitter: @hsaulpodcast Editing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'Hagan Music by Luke O'Hagan Audio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

37mins

15 Sep 2020

Rank #4

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Taming of the Shrew (2012)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Taming of the Shrew, directed by Toby Frow for the Globe Theatre in 2012, and written in 1603 by William Shakespeare.Content Warning: In this episode we discuss depicted episodes of domestic violence. If you need assistance, links to some Australian support providers will be included at the end of these show notes.Some Shakespeare plays are timeless, and others are a product of their time. When staging plays, what you put on stage is always a mixture of the time when the play was written, and the era in which your audience is living; no matter how period-appropriate, no matter how historically informed, and notwithstanding the colossal temple to Shakespeare in which you’re performing, you’re always going to be judged by modern standards; that’s just the nature of the arts, especially the performing arts. Taming of the Shrew is a story so beloved that it has been adapted many times in many ways, but a lot of those adaptations exist to get past the almost unscalable heights of the play’s chauvinism as written. Our show today, performed in and by the Globe, isn’t making those adaptations; so what is watching a show like that in 2012 or 2020 like?Lifeline Australia - https://www.lifeline.org.au/Australia wide 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.Beyond Blue - https://www.beyondblue.org.au/Australia wide 24 hour information and support about mental health, including anxiety, depression and suicide.DV Connect - https://www.dvconnect.org/Womensline: 24 hour support for women experiencing domestic or family violence; Mensline: Free, confidential telephone, counselling, referral and support service for men; Sexual Assault Helpline: Telephone support and counselling regarding sexual assault or abuse.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/ Instagram: @hsaulpodcast Twitter: @hsaulpodcast Editing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'Hagan Music by Luke O'Hagan Audio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

1 Sep 2020

Rank #5

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OTHELLO (1995)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Othello, directed by Oliver Parker in 1995, and written in 1603 by William Shakespeare.EPISODE NOTES: We specifically worked, when developing the schedule for watching these shows, to make sure it was the kind of schedule we could adhere to and that wouldn’t make us want to quit half-way through. We put the histories in chronological order, we made sure we weren’t watching too many tragedies or comedies in a row; and then, when we were done with that, we sprinkled as evenly as possible among the other plays the capital B Big capital O Ones; the plays that people recognise as being the great works of the Shakespearean canon. And so, now, we come to the first of those: Othello. This is a work done often, performed by fantastic, generation defining performers, and rightly recognised as a prime example of the work that Shakespeare was capable of doing. It is not a perfect play; but it is a play that leaves us with a great deal to talk about, and so we shall.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Subscribe to us on ITUNES, SPOTIFY, or your podcatcher of choice.Become a Patron of That’s Not Canon Productions at Patreon!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

42mins

18 Aug 2020

Rank #6

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PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE (1984)

This week on Heavenly Shows and Unnecessary Letters: Pericles, Prince of Tyre, directed by David Hugh Jones for the BBC in 1984, and written circa 1608 by William Shakespeare.EPISODE NOTES: This week’s show is another semi-shakespearean work - promoted in it’s day as a work by Shakespeare, but with the first two acts written by another man. This week’s show was also regarded as having the most mass popularity of any Shakespearean play in the time it was written, to the point where critics of the day bemoaned its popularity when compared to the great works like Macbeth and Hamlet. That popularity has waned, however, and Pericles is now considered to be mostly a dramatic oddity, an experimental work of literature rarely thought about and even more rarely staged. We’re not about literature, however, we’re about the work performed, so we dug up the only recorded version of Pericles, Prince of Tyre ever made, and set out to find out why this work was so popular in its day.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Subscribe to us on ITUNES, SPOTIFY, or your podcatcher of choice.Become a Patron of That’s Not Canon Productions at Patreon!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

48mins

4 Aug 2020

Rank #7

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EDWARD III (2009)

Tammy and Luke explore and review the 2009 St Louis Shakespeare production of Shakespeare's Edward III.EPISODE NOTES: Among others. Some people don’t think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, and as a podcast, our official position on that is *blows a raspberry*. It’s without question, however, that some Shakespeare plays weren’t written by him alone, and that throughout history some plays that weren’t considered to be written by him, were. The latest addition to the canon is Edward the Third, a work considered canonical and noncanonical on and off since the late eighteenth century, and through modern computer text analysis in the early 2000s is now believed to contain about 40% text written by Shakespeare. The only recording of this play that we could find was recorded by St Louis Shakespeare, a small professional company out of Missouri in the United States, recorded with a single camera in the very best low definition video that 2009 had to offer. But, we made a commitment to watch the complete works, so we got our copies of the script out, and got to business.Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Subscribe to us on ITUNES, SPOTIFY, or your podcatcher of choice.Become a Patron of That’s Not Canon Productions at Patreon!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

37mins

21 Jul 2020

Rank #8

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MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (2010)

Tammy and Luke explore and review the 2010 Globe Theatre production of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.EPISODE NOTES: No-one can be great all the time. Spielberg made the movie of the Twilight Zone. Sondheim wrote the Frogs, and Shakespeare wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor. The following are a few things written about this play; that it is “one of Shakespeare's weakest plays” and that it “bears the earmarks of hasty writing”.All that being said, something we’ve often said in our acting careers is that when the material is weak, it gives you the opportunity to really use everything in your arsenal to create great work for the audience. After all, they can’t all be Shakespeare, where no matter what you do, you’ll never be better than the text. So what we have here is an opportunity; Shakespeare that isn’t Shakespeare. So the question is; did these singers outsing their song?Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Subscribe to us on ITUNES, SPOTIFY, or your podcatcher of choice.Become a Patron of That’s Not Canon Productions at Patreon!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

45mins

7 Jul 2020

Rank #9

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THE TEMPEST (2010)

Tammy and Luke explore and review the 2010 film adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.EPISODE NOTES: As performers, we believe that Shakespeare is at its best performed, not read. As much as we love theatre, and the stage, and as much as we have enjoyed watching filmed stage productions, we were always going to get to watching a traditional cinema film adaptation of Shakespeare, and that’s where we are today. The Tempest is a divisive play at the best of times, and film adaptations of Shakespeare have a real history of hit-or-miss, but to avoid them would be to miss out on where a lot of people have their first exposure to these works.And so, we’re watching this film, where we have a genderswapped lead character, and special effects that would be impossible on stage; but does it accomplish things that the show wouldn’t have done on stage?IMDB link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1274300/Email Address: hsaulpodcast@gmail.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/hsaulpodcast/Instagram: @hsaulpodcastTwitter: @hsaulpodcastEditing by Tammy Sarah Linde and Luke O'HaganMusic by Luke O'HaganAudio excerpt from Henry V used under a Creative Commons License from Archive.org - license available here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/Subscribe to us on ITUNES, SPOTIFY, or your podcatcher of choice.Become a Patron of That’s Not Canon Productions at Patreon!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

35mins

23 Jun 2020

Rank #10