Media Thursday: a tale of two Lears

So the end of last week was a kind of confluence of King Lear viewing experiences. Last Thursday evening, NT Live had one of its worldwide cinema broadcasts of a performance of the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Lear that had been transferred to London, so that more people could see what Ian McKellen has said will be his last live theater-Shakespeare. Then, the very next day, Amazon Prime released the BBC production of the play with Anthony Hopkins leading a star-studded cast.

So let’s take a gander, shall we?

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Theater review: Titus Andronicus by Independent Shakespeare Company (spoiler-free)

Last night, Lisa and I went down to Los Angeles’ Griffith Park to see Independent Shakespeare Company’s free performance of Titus Andronicus.

For those who have followed this Project, you know how much I love what Indy Shakes does. I dig their diversity and inclusion, in terms of casting, staffing, use of language, and audience outreach. They are pretty much the antithesis of what I hate: Museum Shakespeare… their playfulness with the text–unafraid to make comic and topical references to the crowd–in addition to their use of direct address to, and from within, the audience, make for a wonderful experience that brings 400 year-old texts alive.

And those who know me know that I love this play. I think it’s the work of a brilliant young playwright doing his damnedness to make his audience notice him. And I just find the thing fascinating–thus my use of it in my current Masters thesis…and someday I want to direct the damn beast.

Some might then assume that this would make a positive review of this a fait accompli … a done deal. But with expectations so high, and such investment so personal, the opposite could be a risk.

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Theater Review: Coriolanus by Theatricum Botanicum

Last Saturday afternoon, I went into the hills of Topanga (midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley in lovely southern California) to Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum to catch their production of Coriolanus.

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Media Thursday (kinda): new (old) plays to read…

So, not really a review for today’s Media Thursday.

Instead, I’ll share two plays I’ll be reading over the summer.

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Podcast 165: Interview Special — Melissa Chalsma and David Melville of Independent Shakespeare Company


This week’s podcast ends an exceedingly long drought, but your patience is rewarded with a jumbo econo-sized interview with Melissa Chalsma and David Melville, the Artistic and Managing Directors, respectively, of Los Angeles’ Independent Shakespeare Company. We talk a bit about the upcoming season which will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Titus Andronicus.

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Media Thursday: not quite the Ides of March

Today is Thursday, so that means “media day,” on which I like to focus on some Shakespeare-related work. This week, I want to preview something on the horizon:

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When in Rome…

OK, so as I’ve mentioned a number of times, I finished off my long-term sub gig at ACHS last week. I just want to share a pretty cool assessment that I put together for the end of Julius Caesar for the English 2 Honors class.

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The Winter’s Tale: Hamlet and fardels and bears, oh my

As I’m re-reading The Winter’s Tale (while in my final days in Ashland, watching some really good Shakespeare, and while attempting to write a paper on King Lear with a medical diagnosis of narcissism–the former successfully and happily; the latter…not so much), I’m noticing some words coming up with more frequency than I expected: “fardel” and “bear.”

Oh, my.

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Iachimo: little scamp or little Iago?

So, you’re a pretty nice guy. Got this beautiful fiancée or wife, and she’s totally faithful to you. And this dude comes along and tells you that she’s been disloyal. You get sad then mad, and you want her killed. We’ve seen this before in Othello and now Cymbeline. You’re the Moor or Posthumus. She’s Desdemona or Hero. And that “dude” is Iago or Iachimo.

Is similarity in the name intentional?

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Coriolanus flashback

Yeah, I know. Coriolanus was so…last month.

But when something comes onto the radar that is this fascinating–well, it’s time to put off that Act One synopsis of Cymbeline and share it with you, my band of Bard brothers…

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