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Shakespeare Unlimited

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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.

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.
More Information

Location:

Washington, D.C.

Description:

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.

Language:

English

Contact:

201 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC 20003 2025544600


Episodes

Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Elizabethan Theater

12/13/2017
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Sixteenth-century theater companies used a variety of physical and sensual staging effects in their productions to create a full-body experience for playgoers: fireworks hissing and shooting across the stage, fake blood, fake body parts, the smell of blood and death, and more. Farah Karim-Cooper and Tiffany Stern are the editors of a 2013 collection of essays, Shakespeare’s Theatre and the Effects of Performance, written by themselves and nine other theater historians. Tiffany Stern is a...

Duration: 00:32:12


Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare in China

11/29/2017
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In 2015, on a state visit to Great Britain, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping called 17th-century Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu the “Shakespeare of the East,” and ever since, the Ministry of Culture for the People’s Republic has made a concerted push to elevate Tang to the status of Shakespeare. This episode explores just who Tang Xianzu was, and – more broadly – looks at what role Shakespeare plays in modern-day China. Our guests, Wei Feng and Alexa Alice Joubin, study the intersection of China...

Duration: 00:36:07


Shakespeare and Science Fiction

11/14/2017
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Shakespeare and his plays crop up in science fiction in a number of surprising places, from classic stories like Isaac Asimov’s “The Immortal Bard” to TV shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who. And it’s not just these more recent works: a production of Macbeth figures in Mary Shelley’s post-apocalyptic novel The Last Man, written in the 1820s. Our guest on this episode is Sarah Annes Brown, a professor of English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and co-director of...

Duration: 00:28:34


Edward St. Aubyn on Dunbar

11/1/2017
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The author of the Patrick Melrose novels talks about adapting the story of one of Shakespeare’s most dysfunctional families for the Hogarth Shakespeare series. In Edward St. Aubyn’s version of “King Lear,” called “Dunbar,” Lear becomes a media mogul whose evil daughters have locked him away in a psychiatric hospital. Edward St. Aubyn is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published November 1, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights...

Duration: 00:30:34


Myths About Shakespeare (rebroadcast)

10/17/2017
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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? (This episode was first released on April 22, 2015.) From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved....

Duration: 00:26:24


Shakespeare in Swahililand

10/3/2017
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Two literary scholars discuss Shakespeare’s influence on the politics, history, and literary culture of East Africa. Edward Wilson-Lee, the son of white wildlife conservationists, spent his childhood in Kenya and now teaches Shakespeare at the University of Cambridge in England. Over the past few years he has spent extended periods back in Kenya, as well as in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, researching his book, Shakespeare in Swahililand. Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, the renowned...

Duration: 00:34:29


Shakespeare and War

9/6/2017
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In his one-man show Cry Havoc! actor Stephan Wolfert, a US Army veteran, draws together lines in Shakespeare’s plays spoken by soldiers and former soldiers—including Macbeth, Othello, and Richard III. He puts those words to the task of explaining the toll that soldiering and war can take on the psyches of the men and women who volunteer for military duty. He is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 5, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare...

Duration: 00:35:11


Bernstein, Shakespeare, and West Side Story

8/22/2017
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Next year, 2018, is the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. To honor him, we’re taking a look at the creation of "West Side Story," Bernstein’s most significant contribution to the world of Shakespeare. To help us out, we’ve invited in two guests with extensive knowledge. Mark Horowitz is archivist for the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress—nearly 400-thousand items, including music manuscripts, letters, photographs, audio and video recordings, fan mail,...

Duration: 00:31:52


Shakespeare's Kitchen

8/8/2017
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How and what did the Elizabethans eat? The kitchens of Shakespeare’s time looked very different from our kitchens today, and that’s not all that has changed when it comes to habits of diet, food preparation, and especially, the way food is served. In this episode, noted food historian Francine Segan leads listeners through a recipe for a salmon pie from the 1600s. She is interviewed by Neva Grant. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published August 8, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare...

Duration: 00:32:17


Akala and Hip-Hop Shakespeare

7/25/2017
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“Is it Shakespeare, or is it hip-hop?” British poet, rapper, and educator Kingslee James Daley, who goes by the stage name Akala, likes to recite a passage and then challenge his audience with this question. Since 2009, under the auspices of his “Hip-hop Shakespeare Company,” Akala has been going to community centers, prisons, and schools in immigrant and underserved communities, using the tools of hip-hop to spread an understanding of the relevance of Shakespeare’s poetry. Akala is...

Duration: 00:33:20


Creating TNT's ‘Will:’ Craig Pearce and Shekhar Kapur

7/11/2017
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'Will,' the new series on TNT, tells stories derived from what we often call Shakespeare’s “lost years”—the time before he made a name for himself as a writer. The series takes advantage of that gaping hole in Shakespeare’s biography to weave an intricate and exciting tale of art, strife, death, love, poetry, and violence in Elizabethan England. Executive producer/writer Craig Pearce and executive producer/director Shekhar Kapur tell us about adapting Shakespeare's biography—or lack...

Duration: 00:36:43


RSC's Digital Tempest

6/13/2017
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Twenty-first-century wizardry meets the seventeenth-century kind in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of "The Tempest" with digital effects created by The Imaginarium, a performance-capture company that’s best known for movie and video game animations. RSC Artistic Director Gregory Duran and Ben Lumsden, Imaginarium’s head of studio, are interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published June 13, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights...

Duration: 00:31:31


Tracy Chevalier: New Boy

5/31/2017
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Tracy Chevalier, author of "Girl With a Pearl Earring," takes on the tragedy of "Othello" in her latest novel, part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. But in a twist, she moves the action to a public elementary school playground in Washington, DC, in the early 1970s. The book, titled "New Boy," uses its distinctive setting to explore issues of discrimination, betrayal, alienation, and jealousy. In this episode, Tracy talks about the book, her inspirations, and the challenges of working...

Duration: 00:28:17


The Globe to Globe Hamlet Tour

5/16/2017
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In 2014, Shakespeare’s Globe in London sent a group of actors on a two-year tour to perform "Hamlet" all around the world. They finished on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, after having traveled 193,000 miles and performed in 197 countries. Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe’s Artistic Director at the time, has written a book about the tour called "Hamlet Globe to Globe." Tom Bird is the Globe’s Executive Producer who managed the tour from London and also traveled to 19 of...

Duration: 00:29:17


Adapting Shakespeare

5/3/2017
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What exactly counts as a Shakespeare adaptation? And why bother in the first place? In this podcast episode, we talk with three writers who have wrestled with these questions. Craig Wright is a TV writer and showrunner whose play, Melissa Arctic, a retelling of "The Winter’s Tale" set in rural Minnesota, premiered at Folger Theatre in 2004 and went on to play across the country. Chris Stezin’s play "Mac, Beth," which just ended a run at DC’s Keegan Theater, involves a businessman and his...

Duration: 00:35:12


Shakespeare 400 Chicago

4/18/2017
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To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, Chicago mobilized the city’s cultural and administrative resources in an unprecedented way. Barbara Gaines, founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, reflects on the "Shakespeare 400 Chicago" anniversary celebration. She was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published April 18, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “In This...

Duration: 00:31:51


The Book of Will

4/4/2017
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Shakespeare is famous today thanks in no small part to two members of his acting company, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who published a collection of his plays seven years after his death. Lauren Gunderson has written a new play called "The Book of Will" that portrays Heminge and Condell, along with their families and everyone involved in gathering and creating the First Folio. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published April 4, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All...

Duration: 00:32:40


Juliet's Answer

2/7/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:32:01


Q Brothers

1/10/2017
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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...

Duration: 00:26:14


Shakespeare and YA Fiction

11/29/2016
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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...

Duration: 00:31:40

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