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We are not Shakespeare scholars. We have neither the education, resources, or frankly the intelligence to engage with Shakespeare’s work the way anyone who’s actually published a paper about Shakespeare does. We are amateurs. But none of the names we’re talking about today are amateurs. All of them have left some sort of important imprint on the st…
 
Getting into the late romances -- starting here with Pericles -- means we're nearing the end of our sojourn through William Shakespeare's career. But these are a fascinating quartet of plays, and Pericles is a fantastic introduction to the complicated morality and plot cues that we find Shakespeare playing with throughout these final plays, after y…
 
It's something we've talked about relentlessly on this podcast: teaching Shakespeare is hard. Between the dense language, historical context, and cultural weight of the name "Shakespeare" there are a ton of barriers to getting students invested in the words of Billy S. So this episode we gathered together three teachers (including Lindsay) and talk…
 
It's a play all about dualities that don't duel quite as much as we might think. Antony and Cleopatra - man and woman - Rome and Egypt - Love and War - every way you look at this play there are nice, clean delineations... until there aren't. We enjoyed reading and talking about this one because it refuses to be pinned down or defined, much like its…
 
There were lots of ways we could have looked at the topic of Shakespeare's most famous plays. A deeply analytical examination of what makes some plays rise above others. A detailed case study of a single play, like Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet, that has remained popular over the years. Or even a dismissal of the very idea of popularity. Instead, we dec…
 
Macbeth may be Shakespeare's second most famous play after Hamlet, and for good measure. The speeches and quotes have been seared into English-speaking culture, the phrase "Lady Macbeth" denotes all sorts of things (depending on your point of view), and it may be our most durable parable for the dangers of too much ambition. It's also one of Shakes…
 
It is natural to wonder what Shakespeare was trying to tell us about money. He was, after all, the owner of his own theatre company, a man who made several wise financial decisions involving his land holdings in his later years. He’d grown up around money. Surely we can read into his plays and discover something of the business acumen and economic …
 
One of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, Timon of Athens (aka "How to Make Friends and Alienate People") may not be his most engaging yarn -- being co-authored by Thomas Middleton strikes your humble podcasters as one potential reason why -- but that doesn't mean that it can't be relatable and interesting, or that it won't resonate with modern life…
 
Who has three daughters, two thumbs, and one inheritance to distribute? That guy! *pointing at King Lear* That simple premise becomes the source for one of Shakespeare's most well known and tragic plays. It's also a strangely unsatisfying journey into family dysfunction and moral dilemma, so join us as we chat about the characters, themes, and stru…
 
This is a very special episode dedicated to the era most near and dear to (at least one of) us: the 90s. It was an era that kicked off with parachute pants and Kurt Cobain, and ended with Friends at the top of the ratings chart and Beyoncé still a member of Destiny's Child. In-between there were a whole lot of Shakespeare movies, so we gathered tog…
 
Another one of Shakespeare's problem plays, All's Well That Ends Well doesn't really, well... end well. It's a play deeply concerned about gender norms, sex, and lies, with some interesting characters who - like those in other problem plays - defy the typical conventions we usually associate with Shakespeare's better known figures. We talk about th…
 
Shakespeare's ability to write convincing human emotions is one of the reasons why he remains such a popular playwright to this day. His works explore what it truly means to be human -- warts and all. And the warts are what we're talking about in today's episode, in which we take a look at the roots of jealousy in Shakespeare's plays. From the murd…
 
Jealousy, sex, revenge, racism and outcasts - Othello is a play brimming with emotional themes and characters swayed by those same emotions. We discuss all these themes, try to place them within a bit of context, then discuss how they interact as we look into one of Shakespeare's most beloved and troubling tragedies. Notes: As is often the case, Fo…
 
While it's certainly possible to do Shakespeare without any hint of comedy (and lord knows we've seen a few productions, especially on film, that lean that way), it's also possible to have Shakespeare plays that get the audience rolling in the aisles. This episode we talk all about Shakespeare's comedy - not the comedies, but the sense of humour an…
 
While many of Shakespeare's plays are talked about as being timeless, most of them are in fact very grounded in the specificities of Elizabethan and Jacobean England and the larger European renaissance. Measure for Measure is no different, but because of the topics on display, as well as how little our society has actually changed around those topi…
 
In 1996 Joni Mitchell released two compilation albums - Hits and the appropriately contrapuntal Misses - to show how even the most well-regarded of artists occasionally creates something that never really finds the audiences they might deserve. When it comes to Shakespeare, the Bard had a number of stinkers in his repertoire, including ones we've a…
 
Troilus and Cressida is one of Shakespeare's least popular, least performed plays, and there are a multitude of reasons why that might be. None of the characters are particularly likeable. The various plots are mercenary, cruel, and violent. And it's certainly not the easiest play to classify, and it has baffled scholars since Shakespearean scholar…
 
“Shakespeare must be heard, not read.” It’s a common-enough refrain, spoken by scholars and fans alike, and for good reason. We were lucky enough to be joined by a panel of Shakespearean actors who proved that the act of performing Shakespeare is a living, breathing art. Join us and our guests -- Hillary Weintraub, Jennifer Hotchkiss, and Dakin Mat…
 
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