Shakespeare became the Bard of Avon, the English national poet, in the roughly two hundred years following his death in 1616. During this period, his plays were constantly staged in theaters throughout the British Isles and their colonies—but often in forms that we would be hard pressed to recognize as “Shakespearean.” The Tempest is a particularly interesting case in point.
Posts Categorized: Staging-shakespeare
Check out a mix of innovative online programming and safely socially-distanced in-person performances from Shakespeare companies across the US.
There are philosophical travesties, which use absurdity to further explore the ideas Shakespeare raised in his plays. And there are popular travesties, which are substantially less faithful to Shakespeare’s original, trafficking in the most well-known touchstones of the plays. Explore their roots in the 1800s.
Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Imagine a King Lear that cut the character of the Fool, created a romance between Edgar and Cordelia, and featured a happy ending in which Lear and Cordelia both live. That was the most popular version of Shakespeare’s play for more than 150 years, until William Charles Macready’s landmark production in 1838.
Debra Ann Byrd writes about encountering an early female Othello in the Folger collection and developing her memoir and solo show, Becoming Othello.
‘American Moor’ playwright and actor Keith Hamilton Cobb writes about speaking back to Shakespeare, White American Theater, and frameworks of privilege.
Wondering where you’ll find Shakespeare this summer? We’ve gathered a wealth of online performances, conversations, and programs from the Folger’s theater partners that you can check out in July and August.
Check out performances, conversations, classes, and podcasts available online in June from Shakespeare theaters all across the country.
Suddenly, there’s a lot of Shakespeare available online. Here are our tips for exploring the wealth of films, Zoom readings, online classes, and more in the month of May.