Shakespeare on Stage
Antony & Cleopatra
Our July 13th Shakespeare on Stage discussion is on Antony and Cleopatra. Antony and Cleopatra dramatizes a major event in world history: the founding of the Roman Empire. The future first emperor, Octavius Caesar (later called Augustus Caesar), cold-bloodedly manipulates other characters and exercises iron control over himself. At first, he shares power with Mark Antony, Rome’s preeminent military leader, and the weaker Lepidus. Caesar needs Antony to fend off other Roman strongmen like Pompey; he even offers his sister Octavia to him as a bride, despite Antony’s reputation as a libertine and his past rivalry with Caesar. Once Caesar defeats Pompey, however, he needs no allies. He brings charges against…
Romeo & Juliet
Our final Shakespeare on Stage discussion will air Monday, July 20th at 6:30pm. This week, we will be discussing Stratford’s version of Romeo and Juliet. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond…
Adventures of Pericles
Our July 6th Shakespeare on Stage discussion will be on the Adventures of Pericles. Pericles tells the story of a prince who, as a young man in search of a wife, finds a gorgeous princess; he risks his life to win her, but discovers that she is in an incestuous relationship with her father; the discovery not only disgusts him but also puts him in mortal danger from her father, and he flees. This is only the beginning of Pericles’ travails. After many adventures, including a near-fatal shipwreck, he meets another princess with whom he falls in love; this time the love leads to marriage. He and his pregnant wife…
Our discussion for Monday, June 29th, is about the Stratford production of King John. Like most of Shakespeare’s history plays, King John presents a struggle for the English crown. The struggle this time, however, is strikingly cold-blooded and brutal. John, the younger brother of the late Richard I, is the king, and a savage one. His opponent is a boy, his nephew Arthur, supported by the King of France and the Duke of Austria. After Arthur falls into John’s hands, John plots to torture him. Arthur’s capture gives Louis, the Dauphin of France, the opportunity to lay claim to John’s crown. John’s nobles support Louis, but he schemes to betray them.…
Monday, June 22, we will be discussing Hamlet! Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most popular, and most puzzling, play. It follows the form of a “revenge tragedy,” in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties. Among them: What is the Ghost—Hamlet’s father demanding justice, a tempting demon, an angelic messenger? Does Hamlet go mad, or merely pretend to? Once he is sure that Claudius is a murderer, why does he not act? Was his mother, Gertrude, unfaithful to her husband or complicit in his murder? (Introduction from Folger & licensed under CC BY…
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Join us for a discussion of Love’s Labour’s Lost on Monday, June 15th! We will be joined by Professors Sukey Waldenberger, Andrew Winters, and Nicole Dean. A special guest from Laark Productions will also be joining us! At first glance, Shakespeare’s early comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost simply entertains and amuses. Four young men (one of them a king) withdraw from the world for three years, taking an oath that they will have nothing to do with women. The King of Navarre soon learns, however, that the Princess of France and her ladies are about to arrive. Although he lodges them outside of his court, all four men fall in love with the…
Timon of Athens
Shakespeare on Stage continues on Monday, June 8th with Timon of Athens. You can watch the Stratford version here: https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome. It might also be helpful to read the text of the play. If you don’t have a copy, find one here: https://shakespeare.folger.edu/shakespeares-works/timon-of-athens/ Here’s a fun quiz to test your knowledge of the play. Here is an interesting perspective on Timon by Anthony Heald, who played Timon in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Watch the recording of the live discussion panel from Monday, June 8th with Professor Andrew Winters and Professor Suzanne Waldenberger.
Shakespeare on Stage: The Tempest
I’m so excited that our very first Shakespeare on Stage discussion at YC is just days away! Our first play is The Tempest. You can watch the Stratford version here: https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome. It might also be helpful to read the text of the play. If you don’t have a copy, find one HERE to read the play online. Laark Productions has created an introduction to the play: https://youtu.be/cNVIopdsiw8 Here’s a recording of the live discussion panel here from Monday, June 1st, with Professor Andrew Winters, Professor Suzanne Waldenberger, OLLI lecturer Phil Finkelstein, and Laark Productions.