Posts Categorized: Staging-shakespeare

Orson Welles and the Voodoo ‘Macbeth’ that launched his directing career

Can you feel the feverish excitement in the air? This photograph from April 14, 1936, shows the crowded streets outside the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem on opening night for the Federal Theatre Project’s Macbeth, directed by a young Orson Welles. (He was only 20 years old!) The Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Unit was a New Deal program under the… 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 »


King and Country: Shakespeare treasures from the Folger

A special exhibition of rare quartos, promptbooks, and other treasures from the Folger collection accompanies the Royal Shakespeare Company staging of King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York this month.


David Garrick and the cult of bardolatry

[Editor’s Note: A version of this text first appeared in Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger Shakespeare Library, edited by Esther Ferington, ©2002 Folger Shakespeare Library.] The leading actor-manager of the 1700s, David Garrick revolutionized English theatre with a lively, naturalistic acting style that held audiences spellbound. In three decades at the Drury Lane Theatre, Garrick… 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 »


‘Sweetly Writ’: King Lear and the First Folio in Oregon

What can we learn from Shakespeare’s revisions to his plays, and what does that mean for the actors and directors who make their own changes to his texts today? Oregon Shakespeare Festival explores these questions in a new original work called Sweetly Writ, which demonstrates how Shakespeare conceived different takes on the same characters and… 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 »


As You Like It in Esperanto: Washington, DC, 1910

Folger Finds delivers delightful and insightful moments with the Folger collection. Sarah Hovde, a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shares the story behind a 1910 Esperanto edition of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.