168 episodes

Home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Advancing knowledge and the arts. Discover it all at www.folger.edu. Shakespeare turns up in the most interesting places—not just literature and the stage, but science and social history as well. Our "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast explores the fascinating and varied connections between Shakespeare, his works, and the world around us.

Folger Shakespeare Library: Shakespeare Unlimite‪d‬ Folger Shakespeare Library

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 564 Ratings

Home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Advancing knowledge and the arts. Discover it all at www.folger.edu. Shakespeare turns up in the most interesting places—not just literature and the stage, but science and social history as well. Our "Shakespeare Unlimited" podcast explores the fascinating and varied connections between Shakespeare, his works, and the world around us.

    Meme García on "house of sueños"

    Meme García on "house of sueños"

    For generations, artists have been shaping and changing Shakespeare to fit their times. The best adaptations add specific textures of place and culture, or a fluidity of language that can take centuries-old work and make it brand new. Seattle Shakespeare Company is presenting one of those works: a Salvadoran-American adaptation of "Hamlet" called "house of sueños," by actor and playwright Meme García.

    In "house of sueños," sisters Rina and Amelia prepare to celebrate Mom’s marriage to their new Stepdad. But when Amelia tells her sister of the mysterious voice and shadowy figure she saw in the attic last night, it becomes clear that not all in this house is as it seems.

    García’s play is being released as a special five-episode series from the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Rough Magic podcast. You can listen to it through March 17 wherever you get your podcasts or on the company’s website, https://www.seattleshakespeare.org/houseofsuenos/.

    We talked to García about adapting Shakespeare, mental illness in Hamlet and in their own experiences, and how they crafted the language of their play. García is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

    Meme García is a Fulbright Scholar with a Master’s degree in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. As an actor, they have performed with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, upstart crow collective, and Seattle Shakespeare Company, among other theaters.

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published March 2, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “What Dreams May Come,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer, with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.

    • 34 min
    Shakespeare in the Harlem Renaissance

    Shakespeare in the Harlem Renaissance

    When you think about the Harlem Renaissance, theater might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But, says Dr. Freda Scott Giles, theater played a significant role in the blossoming of Black American arts and culture of the 1920s and '30s. Of course, because there’s little in the English-language theater untouched by Shakespeare, he was present in the Harlem Renaissance too. Banner Shakespeare productions included Orson Welles’s hit “Voodoo” "Macbeth," produced by the Federal Theater Project, and the "Midsummer"-inspired "Swingin’ the Dream," which was a Broadway flop despite the talents of musician Louis Armstrong and comedian Moms Mabley.

    We talk to Dr. Giles about how the artists and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance regarded the Bard. Plus, we visit the African Company of the 1820s and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s to learn about more than a century of Black responses to Shakespeare.

    Freda Scott Giles is Associate Professor Emerita of Theater at the University of Georgia. She was a contributor to three books: "Tarell Alvin McCraney: Theater, Performance, and Collaboration," published in 2020; "Constructions of Race in Southern Theatre: From Federalism to the Federal Theatre Project," published in 2003; and "American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity," which was published in 1995.

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published February 16, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “I Here Engage My Words,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer, with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Paul Luke at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.

    • 33 min
    Naomi Miller on Mary Sidney Herbert and "Imperfect Alchemist"

    Naomi Miller on Mary Sidney Herbert and "Imperfect Alchemist"

    Dr. Naomi Miller’s novel "Imperfect Alchemist" is about one of early modern England’s most significant literary figures: a poet, playwright, translator, scientist, and colleague of writers like Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, Mary Wroth, John Donne, and Emilia Lanier Bassano. Her name was Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke.

    We talk to Miller about how she imagined the lives and voices of these literary lights, as well as Shakespeare, in her book. Plus, she discusses female alchemists of Elizabethan England, Sidney’s friends and beneficiaries, and how class shapes her characters’ outlooks. Naomi Miller is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

    Dr. Naomi Miller is a professor of English, as well as the Study of Women and Gender, at Smith College. She has written and edited nine books about early modern women authors and their worlds. Her first novel, "Imperfect Alchemist," was published by Allison & Busby in 2020.

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published February 2, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Your Partner in the Cause,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Paul Luke at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.

    • 32 min
    Shakespeare and "Game of Thrones"

    Shakespeare and "Game of Thrones"

    Based on his knowledge of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays, Dr. Jeffrey R. Wilson of Harvard University knew just how HBO's "Game of Thrones" would play out. Jon Snow, the illegitimate son, was a Richard III type, who would win the crown (and our hearts). But Daenerys Targaryen, as a kind of Henry VII, would defeat him in battle and win it back, restoring peace and order. Turns out he was wrong about all of that.

    But as Wilson kept watching, he began to appreciate the other ways "Game of Thrones" is similar to Shakespeare—like the way that both Shakespeare and George R.R. Martin’s stories translate the history of the Wars of the Roses into other popular genres.

    Jeff Wilson’s new book, "Shakespeare and 'Game of Thrones,'" explores some of the ways that Shakespeare influenced "Game of Thrones"… as well as some of the ways that "Game of Thrones" has begun to influence Shakespeare. Wilson is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

    Dr. Jeffrey R. Wilson is a faculty member in the Writing Program at Harvard University, where he teaches the Why Shakespeare? section of the University's first-year writing course. His new book, "Shakespeare and 'Game of Thrones,'" was published by Routledge in 2020.

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published January 19, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. Leonor Fernandez edits our transcripts. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City California. Special thanks to DC-based playwright Allyson Currin for finding all of the "Game of Thrones" clips that appear in this episode.

    • 36 min
    Shakespeare, Science, and Art

    Shakespeare, Science, and Art

    Does Hamlet live in a Ptolemaic or Copernican solar system? Is Queen Mab a germ? Which falls faster: a feather or the Duke of Gloucester? In Shakespeare’s time, new scientific discoveries and mathematical concepts were upending the way people looked at their world. Many of those new ideas found their ways into his plays. We speak with Dr. Natalie Elliot about how Shakespeare interpreted the scientific innovations of the early modern period in his art. She is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

    Dr. Natalie Elliot is a storyteller, science writer, and a member of the faculty at St. John’s College. Her essay “Shakespeare’s Worlds of Science” was published in the Winter 2018 edition of The New Atlantis. Elliot is currently working on two books: an exploration of Shakespeare's engagement with early modern science called "Shakespeare and the Theater of the Universe," and a comic novel about woolly mammoths called "Megafauna."

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published January 5, 2021. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “If This Be Magic, Let It Be an Art,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer, with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.

    • 33 min
    "Fat Rascals": In the Kitchen with John Tufts

    "Fat Rascals": In the Kitchen with John Tufts

    John Tufts was playing Hal in a production of "Henry IV, Part 1" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Every night, he would call Falstaff “that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly.” Hal is calling Falstaff is gross and overstuffed, but Tufts started to think that a roast Manningtree ox sounded actually pretty good.

    That role inspired the actor and cook to write a cookbook, "Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare’s Table," a collection of over 150 recipes inspired by Shakespeare’s words and adapted from actual 16th- and 17th-century recipes. We hopped on Zoom and asked Tufts to tell us about the book and give us a remote cooking demonstration. He obliged by teaching our host, Barbara Bogaev, how to make a pork pasty inspired by Titus Andronicus and the mid-17th-century chef and author Robert May. Bon appétit!

    Award-winning actor John Tufts has performed at theaters across the country, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (where he is a member of the Acting Company and performed in over 20 of Shakespeare's plays), Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Actor's Theater of Louisville, Ensemble Studio Theater, Guthrie Theater, Primary Stages, The Mint Theater Company, and others. He is the author of "Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare’s Table," which is available on his website, john-tufts.com

    From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published December 8, 2020. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Make Two Pasties,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer, with help from Leonor Fernandez. We had technical help from Christine Albright-Tufts and Chris Spurgeon.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
564 Ratings

564 Ratings

Forsaken Lover ,

Shakespeare Unlimited

Shakespeare in Harlem Renaissance was wonderful! I knew a tiny bit about black theatre in the US so I found the interview fascinating. Two brilliant women discussing the history and answering my questions as I listened. I found Shakespeare Unlimited via the Folger Library book group, Words, Words, Words.

gorgeousdogs ,

like auditing a college course

Found this podcast while looking for discussions about Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet. I visited the Folger Shakespeare Library a few years ago and have dreamed of returning since—this podcast makes me feel like I’m studying there. Such a joy to hear these fascinating conversations. They’ve really given me something to look forward to in quarantine!

tg53 ,

Love it

...so varied and intriguing.

Top Podcasts In Arts

Listeners Also Subscribed To