Since its pass-the-hat origins in 1981, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has created ten world-renowned stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots, and numerous radio pieces, all of which have been performed, seen, and heard the world over. The company’s itinerary has included stops off-Broadway, at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and Montreal’s famed Just For Laughs Festival, as well as performances in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Singapore and Bermuda, plus countless civic and university venues throughout the USA, the UK, and Europe.
In 2016, in honor of the company’s 35th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the RSC premieres its tenth stage show, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC. In 2013 the “Bad Boys of Abridgment” unveiled The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) –to critical and commercial acclaim at both Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Merrimack Repertory Theatre, as well as on national tours of the the USA and UK. The Complete World of Sports (abridged)opened in 2010 at Merrimack Rep and after touring the USA and UK, ran at the Arts Theatre in London during the 2012 London Olympics. In 2011 came the world premiere of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)which became Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s best-selling holiday show ever, and the third-best-selling show in MRT’s history and also enjoyed a successful run at San Diego Repertory Theatre as well as multiple tours across the USA.
Caitlin McWethy and Abby Lee play Viola and Olivia in the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night directed by the RSC’s own Austin Tichenor, and prior to the show’s opening this week, sat down to talk about their characters and how this production differs from other productions they’ve seen and been in. Featuring the wonder of two women sharing scenes onstage (and the weirdly specific thing that makes it possible), Viola’s narrative burden, definitive roles we’re dying to play (lookin’ at you, Valentine), the question of why Olivia is not a more generally-desired role in the Shakespearean canon, Olivia’s similarity to Kate from Taming of the Shrew, the magic alchemy of shared grief, roles that allow for greater interpretive freedom, wonderful surprises, hitting that sweet spot between fun n’ games and tragedy, and the joy of laughing and crying in rehearsal. (Length 21:08)
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Director of Literary Development and Dramaturgy Amrita Ramanan talks about the role of the dramaturg at a theatre dedicated to a playwright who’s been dead for 402 years, and discusses the planning and programs OSF has put in place to create a canon of new Histories, Comedies, Tragedies, and Romances. Our highly caffeinated conversation features distinctions between institutional dramaturgy and production dramaturgy, studying the intent of the text, carrying a sense of engagement, determining what a 400 year old play means today, identifying the ethos and identify of Shakespeare’s work, how a dramaturg’s job is very similar to a director’s, the value of gadflies, thematic connectivity, harnessing the all-important dramaturgy of the actor, and how producing new work and new playwrights, in addition to producing his 400 year old plays, actually does the greatest honor to Master Shakespeare himself. (Length 17:51
Director Kristen Osborn talks about serving as assistant director to Daniel Sullivan on the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles production of both parts of Henry IV earlier this summer, which starred Tom Hanks as Falstaff, Joe Morton (Scandal, Brother From Another Planet) as Henry IV, and Hamish Linklater (Fargo, Legion, The Newsroom) as Hal. Kristen discusses how the script was abridged and cast and also shares insights into how the emphasis of Shakespeare’s History gets transformed by star quality. Featuring music by Michael Roth, shout-outs to our own Jeff Marlow, mysterious secrets of the pocket gopher, becoming invaluable, digging into the work, figuring out backstage traffic, transforming the space, changing class distinctions, putting in understudies, feeling like a fraud, what this gig might lead to, how to double a cast of “only” nineteen people, a growing love of Shakespeare, and how a young director shapes her career. Recorded live at The Celtic Knot in Evanston; Where else to talk about Henry IV but in a pub?! (Length 23:29)
William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, has now been published in both the United States by Broadway Play Publishing and Great Britain by Josef Weinberger and is available for licensing worldwide. Read about its creation and “discovery” on the Shakespeare & BeyondContinue reading
The Reduced Shakespeare Company just unveiled a new promotional video for its annual holiday hit The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged). Produced and edited by Tim Neighbors of Invisible Harness, the short video was shot December 22, 2017 at the La Mirada Center for the Arts in southern California and features performers Michael Faulkner, Reed Martin, and Dan Saski. Watch below — it’ll make your spirits bright!
On September 24, 2017, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon hosted illustrator Jennie Maizels and co-author Austin Tichenor at a special event celebrating the publication of their new book Pop-Up Shakespeare. Jennie created wonderful props and costumes for Austin to wear while reading excerpts, and for kids in the audience toContinue reading