"A bright, breezy, and entertaining affair, well stocked with interviews, features, and excerpts from the shows!" So said The Telegraph (UK) when it named the RSC Podcast one of its Top Podcasts. Backstage drama. Touring trauma. Famous Guests. Infamous quests. Literary analysis. No urinalysis. All this and less – on the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast. Find old podcast episodes here. It’s “All Things Reduced” every Monday – and it’s free!
Protest Too Much
Stephanie Crugnola is the creator and host of Protest Too Much, a Shakespeare Showdown podcast that pits Stephanie against performers, educators, and scholars in a weekly battle of Shakespearean comparisons, challenges, and 'best ofs'. Recently, Stephanie debated with Austin Tichenor the question of what is “Shakespeare’s Funniest Non-Comedy,” a conversation that lasted 45 minutes, and a 15-minute abridgment of which you can hear below. Featuring: Shakespearean pet peeves; the danger of sleeping on the Histories; how Shakespeare is all about contrasts; backup from Samuel Johnson in 1765; the comedy of ‘sad-off’s; comparisons to Monty Python and The Death of Stalin; and how Shakespeare is the king of tentpole media! (Length 20:38)
Drawing On Shakespeare
Drawing on Shakespeare is a 16-episode webseries hosted by Austin Tichenor and the ridiculously talented Gary Andrews, where we talk about Shakespeare with witty, wonderful, and wise people while Gary draws what we’re talking about. As a possible second season/series gets closer, Gary and Austin remember how Drawing on Shakespeare began, discuss how different actors bring new meaning to a character; how every conversation leads to new insights about a play; how Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream can be like Keith Richards; and how audience figures are staggering into the several. (Length 17:40)
Emily Carding's 'Quintessence'
Our friend Emily Carding performs their solo show Quintessence this week at the Brighton Fringe Festival (where it won the "Outstanding Theatre Award" in 2019) and talks about how the show was inspired by their love of Shakespeare, science-fiction, and Frankenstein. Featuring the embodiment of an artificial intelligence onstage; starting out life as a commission from the London Science Museum; influences ranging from Shakespeare’s Ariel to Star Trek’s Data; the power and profundity of silliness; the elimination of barriers provided by Fringe performing spaces; upcoming pub garden performances of As You Like It with the Open Bar Theatre; and real-life warnings about how humanity will ultimately be destroyed — and possibly be reborn. (Length 20:22)
Teaching During Quarantine
Two Northwestern University professors -- Cindy Gold (above, right) from the Theater department and Dee Ryan (above, bottom left) from the Radio, Film, and Television department -- talk about how their classes and teaching methods changed and evolved over the fifteen months of the COVID pandemic. Featuring the reinvention of mask work; cancelled performances and career opportunities; being an adorable drunk; how many students got COVID (surprisingly few); being paralyzed by fear (not of COVID, but of technology); spectacular threshing metaphors; a mention of and appearance by Jill Talley (the voice of Karen from SpongeBob SquarePants); and the incredible value of Zoom’s Chat feature. (Length 20:58)
Writing Like Shakespeare
Our last two scripts -- William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged) and Hamlet's Big Adventure! (a prequel) -- have been written largely in iambic pentameter, and this week we talk to lecturer and playwright Richard O'Brien (who, as his very helpful Twitter handle @NotRockyHorror explains, is not the author of that legendary classic) about what that all means. Featuring essential differences between poets and dramatists; the only problem with doing a surprisingly good Fletcher impression; how formal poetic structure can deepen character; how verse pulls off the wonderful double act of lending gravitas and making jokes land; showing off the precision and pyrotechnics of language; the floated possibility of guest lecturing (let’s make this happen, Shakespeare Institute!); and how one of the pleasures of writing (and watching) verse plays is how much they resemble musicals (but without the expense and difficulty of getting them on). (Length 21:08)
My Favorite Hamlet
John Vickery (above, as Antonio in The Tempest at the Stratford Festival in 2010 and Orak the Klingon on Star Trek: Enterprise in 2003) starred as Hamlet in Richard E.T. White's production at the California Shakespeare Theater (then the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival) in 1982, and it remains, almost 40 years later, Austin's favorite performance of that role he's ever seen live. Richard discusses how that production came to be; how returning to Shakespeare allows such powerful explorations of class, wealth, and power; what favorite scenes we share; the danger (and rewards) of rewriting copyrighted material; the frustrations of college drama departments everywhere; how the streets of New York City became Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley; interesting collaborations and treasures discovered in the second quarto; how Shakespeare is open and available to any culture and any society; and who Hamlet’s final climactic sword should really be with. (Length 21:27)
There IS no question! This podcast is a weekly dose of insight and education about the Bard and all things theatre. Austin and guests manage to amuse, entertain, and educate every single week. Makes me look forward to Mondays !
I loved "Slings & Arrows" and enjoyed "Will," so I listened with interest to your take on these productions. Your relative access provided a cool perspective on them which I appreciated. I've enjoyed the reductions I've encountered in the past, and that energy translates perfectly to this truly enjoyable podcast. You should know this review used to be 20 stars and several paragraphs long; that's how inspiring I've found the RSC's approach to be. Yay, you guys!
Long-time listener, first-time reviewer
I've been listening since Episode 1, a few years after having seen Austin perform All the Great Books at the Kennedy Center. The podcast has never failed to be both entertaining and informative, whether it's a slice of life from the world of live theater, memories of what has inspired their performances, or the wide range of interviews. Austin's dedication to putting out a quality production week after week for so many years is a testament to his devotion to the fans of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. The only slip in over 10 years was more of a missed opportunity. Episode 576, "Captain Picard's Autobiography", should have been held for one more week -- so that it could conclude with "577/1701 of the RSC", for NCC-1701E, of course. Keep up the amazing work!