Posts By: Richard Schoch

What happens when actors, musicians, and scholars collaborate on a Restoration Shakespeare play

Part of what makes the Folger Shakespeare Library special is that while scholars are busy creating new knowledge in the reading rooms, actors and musicians in the adjacent theater are busy creating world-class performances. Amazing things result when scholars and artists break down the wall that traditionally separates them and start collaborating. That’s what happened… Continue Reading »


Reduced Shakespeare Company and the golden age of Shakespeare parodies

A high point in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 celebration of Shakespeare, The Wonder of Will, is the return appearance of the Reduced Shakespeare Company—the other RSC—and its world premiere of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at Folger Theatre. The fact that a comic version of Shakespeare is being performed in a theater that shares… Continue Reading »


Portraits in Hamlet: ‘Look here upon this picture, and on this’

One of the oldest theatrical legends about Shakespeare is that he played the ghost in Hamlet. We know that Shakespeare was both an actor and a playwright, but we have no idea whether he acted this small, but memorable role. Yet if he did, he certainly would have enjoyed the “closet scene” between Hamlet and… Continue Reading »


Hamlet wasn’t always the prince with the common touch

When we think about Shakespeare on the stage we usually imagine two different historical moments: ‘then’ and ‘now’. ‘Then’ is Shakespeare’s lifetime, when Richard Burbage, the original Hamlet, first spoke ‘To be or not to be’ from the stage of the Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside. ‘Now’ is the present moment, whether for audiences at… Continue Reading »


Shock of the New, or a Ploy from the Past? Thoughts on OSF’s Play “Translations”

Much ado about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which has announced plans to ‘translate’ all of Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary English. The Play On project is commissioning 36 playwrights (each paired with a dramaturg) over three years  to produce modern renderings of the entire Shakespeare dramatic canon. For OSF, the plays are companion pieces, not replacements;… Continue Reading »