Sat, 15 December 2012
Episode 6 with Sabrina Feldman
Ben Jonson and other writers of Shakespeare’s time satirized a social-climbing playwright-actor who stole their words and passed them off as his own.
Fri, 21 September 2012
Is Othello a comedy gone wrong? Richard Whalen reveals the surprising connections between Shakespeare's Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice and Commedia dell'Arte, the energetic, improvised street theater from 16th century Italy. Stock figures of Commedia dell'Arte bear more than a coincidental resemblance to the 7 main characters of Othello. The links between Othello and Commedia dell'Arte offer insights into such perplexities as Iago's extreme capacity for evil and Othello's curious gullibility.
What does it mean that Shakespeare used comic characters and situations as foundations for this bleak tragedy? And where did Shakespeare acquire his knowledge of Commedia dell'Arte, since it was not performed in England during his writing years?
Wed, 1 August 2012
What are the Shakespeare Apocrypha? And how do we explain the close ties between some of these plays and the works universally accepted as Shakespeare’s? Dramas like Locrine, The London Prodigall, the superhit Mucedorus, and others were attributed to William Shakespeare during the 17th century, in several cases during the Stratford man’s lifetime.
In this episode, Allan Armstrong interviews Dr. Sabrina Feldman, author of The Apocryphal William Shakespeare, to discover the story behind these intriguing but nearly-forgotten plays that have been kicked out of the Shakespeare Canon. Once renowned crowd-pleasers, works like The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, Fair Em, and The Troublesome Reign of King John now exist on the fringes of early modern drama. Scholars have largely ignored these works because they are considered vastly inferior to the accepted Shakespeare plays. Yet many were published with William Shakespeare’s name or initials on their title pages, and a half-dozen of them were included in the 1664 Third Folio of Shakespeare’s works.
In this podcast, we’ll hear excerpts from these plays that provide a taste of the distinctive and highly entertaining qualities that made them wildly popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
Mon, 7 May 2012
Could A Midsummer Night's Dream contain allegorical references that satirize Queen Elizabeth's long & melodramatic courtship with the Duc of Alencon?
Join Earl Showerman as we visit the court of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1570s. Statesmen, nobles, and perhaps even the queen herself are divided over whether or not Elizabeth should marry the younger brother of the King of France. Dramatics ensue onstage and off, in a surprisingly strange and significant episode of English history.
And what might be most surprising is that this colorful, contentious time might be preserved in all its absurdity and otherworldliness in one of Shakespeare's best known plays.
"And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays."
— Bottom, A Midsummer Night's Dream