Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast

Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast

United Kingdom

~ Brevity is the soul of wit. ~


Episode 527. The Writers Theatre  

Recently dubbed "Company of the Year" by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal, the Writers Theatre in the Chicago suburb of Glencoe began in the back of a bookstore and in its 25th anniversary season opened its brand new multi-million dollar performing arts venue -- which is also an award-winner! Michael Halberstam, Writers Theatre's founder and artistic director, talks about the company's origins; its artistic and physical evolution; the primacy of actor salaries; the value of an intimate aesthetic; the magnificent work of Jeanne Gang, MacArthur "Genius" award-winning founder of Studio Gang; and the wonderful opportunity to design, not only theatre, but a building in which to create theatre. (Length 22:44)

Episode 526. Othello v. Othello  

Patricia Burke-Hickey, Instructor of English at Phillips Exeter Academy, talks about seeing two possibly landmark interpretations of William Shakespeare's Othello back to back: the New York Theatre Workshop production starring David Oyelowo (Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma) as the Moor and Daniel Craig (James Bond) as Iago, and Othello: The Remix, written by and starring The Q Brothers. Featuring the differences between moments on the page and moments on the stage, reaching out and touching Daniel Craig (or wanting to), finding hilarity in tragedy, the power of intimacy, and honor among (artistic) thieves. (Length 23:46)

Episode 525. Ten Year Highlights  

We highlight ten signature moments, one from each of the ten years of the first decade of the RSC Podcast, that best represent the scope of what we've attempted to do week after week. Featuring behind the scenes conversations showcasing how our shows are created, in-depth interviews with comedians, directors, authors, and award-winning actors, and invaluable audio records of talented and wonderful artists who left us far too soon. (Length (31:00)

Episode 524. Podcasting Ten Years  

The RSC Podcast recently celebrated its tenth year of weekly podcasting. Austin Tichenor reminisces about the podcast's origins, his brushes with the great, the near-great, the famous, and the infamous; the real-time chronicle of nearly half of the RSC's theatrical resume; the advantages of Fan-Boying With Purpose; the development of both personal and professional relationships; the reliable dependability of Mick Orfe; and the privilege of knowing, chatting, and working with notable Shakespeareans around the world. BONUS: We check-in with the one of the podcast's most fire-truckin' popular young guests. (Length 20:55)

Episode 523. More Sam Williams  

Our friend Sam Williams of the Flying Karamazov Brothers (right) died suddenly in November 2016, and we had just had the pleasure of seeing him and recording a lengthy conversation in which Sam talked about his work and adventures juggling and performing around the world. This week features another excerpt from that chat, and Sam discusses his close encounters with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, opening for the Grateful Dead, the dangers of performing in a thunder dome, the German way of booing, words of wisdom from Jerry Garcia, clearing jokes through Frank Sinatra, and finally the surprising fact that the Who really is on first. (Length 23:37)

Episode 522. Doing Chinese Laundry  

You'd think it'd be easy to do show laundry in China, right? Not particularly. One of the regular challenges of touring got slightly more challenging last week as the two washer-dryer combos got a little persnickety. Our Jill-of-all-trades Alli Bostedt tells a tale of malfunctioning safeguards, inaccurate translations, shallow sinks, challenging facilities, unfortunate casualties, wet armpits, and shocking displays of midriff. (Length 19:43)

Episode 521. Reviewing Shanghai Disney  

As foretold in last week's episode, we spent a day at Shanghai Disney, the recently opened newest addition to the Disney family of theme parks, and this week we discuss the park's highs and lows. Featuring general excitement and a few sore necks for Tron, unanimous thumbs-up for Pirates of the Caribbean, unbridled passion for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, a bit of wonder towards the live-action Tarzan show, disappointment in the lack of Mulan merchandise, repeated and unnecessary swearing, several kraken releases, a special appearance by Roy Conli, Oscar-winning producer of Big Hero 6 and Tangled, and the importance of ruthless efficiency when having fun. (Length 19:28)

Episode 520. The Three Eccentrics  

The Eight Eccentrics of Tianqiao stand outside the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing, where we performed last weekend. Or at least their statues do. They represent eight comic street performers who "made greatly contributions to China's national folk art by creating the bottom culture of the imbalanced society." And how! We three eccentrics examine our eight cultural predecessors, try to figure out which ones we resemble most, and ponder the possibility of adding to their number. (Length 18:26)

Episode 519. Remembering Sam Williams  

We were devastated to learn our friend Sam Williams of the Flying Karamazov Brothers (right) died last Friday night. We had only recently just spent time with him, recorded a podcast with him, and were looking forward to our next visit. In this episode, we share more of our conversation with Sam and talk about memories of Bill Graham, the benefits of audiences who are self-medicating, the tricks of comic timing with large (and largely stoned) audiences, misadventures with Jerry Garcia’s BMW, doing good work with Patch Adams and the Gesundheit Institute, traveling with a modern-day Chautauqua, memories of the Oregon Country Fair, the sophisticated science of naming tour buses, and modern heroism. A great spirit has gone. We will miss him. Hear Sam's previous podcast chat about the Flying Ks here. (Length 19:51)

518. Actor Jo Bending  

Joanna Bending is a RADA-trained character actor who specializes (at least recently) in playing multiple roles in single plays. Our paths have crossed multiple times so it was fun to chat with her about her background, her training, the practices of the Actors From the London Stage, the (possibly unfortunate?) importance of the director, the value of real actors playing it straight, the terrifying prospect (and reality) of the one-person show, career longevity, and, most importantly, wise fatherly advice. (Length 18:02)

Episode 517. Flying Karamazov Brothers  

The Flying Karamazov Brothers are the legendary band of jugglers and comedians, founded in 1973 by Paul Magid and Howard Patterson, who started performing at ren faires and busking in Santa Cruz before touring internationally and performing on Broadway, most notably in their legendary Lincoln Center production of The Comedy of Errors. Sam Williams (top left), aka "Smerdyakov Karamazov," chats with us about the Flying K's origins, close brushes with giving up show business, the “Jump-Rope of Death,” becoming Olympic cultural representatives, the origins of the expression “new vaudeville”, and tales of Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito, and Jewel of the Nile. (Length 22:33)

Episode 516. The Q Brothers  

The Q Brothers are the creators of Othello: The Remix, now in previews off-Broadway, as well as their previous off-Broadway hit The Bombitty of Errors and other hip-hop interpretations of Shakespeare. GQ and JQ chat about their process of reinvention, and reflect on inventing words, teaching and learning experiences, becoming an industry, embarrassments of riches, inspiration from the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and the joy of your vision being true to you. (Length 26:50)

Episode 515. Baby Wants Candy  

Baby Wants Candy creates a completely improvised musical at every performance based on a single audience suggestion, and Tim Sniffen is one of its featured players in addition to being a playwright and parodist. Tim talks about what goes into creating musicals on the spot, his latest Wagner parody, whether improv is a process or a product, his new play Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, secret weapons, audience surrogates, the greatness of the musicians The Yes Band, the dangers of parody, and debating what exactly is meant by the phrase PPI. (Length 22:46)

Episode 514. Streamlining ‘Julius Caesar’  

Chicago's Writers Theatre opened its first full season in its award-winning new performance space with a glorious and timely production of Julius Caesar. Actor, co-director, and adaptor Scott Parkinson discusses the process of streamlining this classic by focusing on its dual protagonists, finding echoes in the current political moment, augmenting the language, losing extraneous characters, avoiding extra-textual issues, and the importance of global representation and adding to the conversation. (Length 18:31)

Episode 513. Writing Crime Novels  

Novelist Russel McLean (right) talks about his new novel And When I Die and reveals both surprising influences and his fascination with extended families with dark secrets. Featuring Glasgow’s answer to the Corleones, shifting perspectives, early submission problems, the similarities between crime novelists and a certain criminal mastermind, and the identity of arguably the greatest crime writer ever! (Hint: It’s not who you think!) (Unless it’s Shakespeare, in which case it’s exactly who you think.) It’s a finale of fun! (Length 23:09)

Episode 512. Touring In/With America  

With just a little more than a month to go before the 2016 Presidential Election, we discuss what it's like to be performing The Complete History of America (abridged): Election Edition across the country. Featuring old friends, big tours, wonderful responses, surprising allegiances, different interpretations, unlikely Hamilton influences, a special appearance by David J. Loehr from The Incomparable Network, and the delight of putting on something so warm and comfortable. (Length 19:52)

Episode 511. Improvising Jane Austen  

  Rachel Parris (right) is one of the performers in Austentatious: The Improvised Jane Austen Novel, which performs in London, Edinburgh, and around the UK, and she talks about how one goes about improvising this beloved British author. She also discusses creating her one-woman show "Best-Laid Plans" and sheds light on the company's ground rules, her own improvised pedantry, the courage that is born of improv, the reality of Fringe fatigue, the challenges of creating improv for TV, the differences between improv in the US and UK, and how one can make comedy out of a "third-life crisis." (Length 22:36)

Episode 510. Theatre-Trained Journalist  

John Horn (left) is the host of KPCC’s The Frame, a daily chronicle of creativity in film, TV, music, arts and entertainment. Trained in the theatre at the University of California at Berkeley, John was a showbiz journalist for the Associated Press, Premiere magazine, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times on his way to becoming a public radio host, and we chatted recently about how his theatre background informs his journalism. Featuring funny voices, invaluable training, critical thinking, a shout-out to influential professors like Richard E.T. White, an excerpt from our interview on The Frame, and tips on overcoming the surprising challenge of appearing relaxed. (Length 26:14)

Episode 509. ‘The Bugle’ Podcast  

The definitive "Audio Newspaper for a Visual World™," The Bugle Podcast is one of the seminal achievements in the annals of journalism and political satire. Comedian Andy Zaltzman (right) talks about The Bugle's creation and his long-time partnership with co-creator John Oliver, how they put it together it on a weekly basis, and what form it might take in the future. Featuring the value of deadlines, a double-standard when it comes to puns, the art of stand-up, the pull of performance, the influence of ancient Greek comedy, the wonder of cricket, and satire's wonderful ability to provide irony and perspective in troubled times. (Length 24:24)

Episode 508. Tim’s Shakespearean Ancestors  

Actor, singer, improviser, comedian, and radio personality Tim Fitzhigham talks about the connections between some of his ancestors and a young dramatic poet (and possible Catholic) named William Shakespeare. Featuring family connections to both Edward Alleyn and Anne Line, the making of a saint, possible inspirations for Cymbeline and "The Phoenix and the Turtle," the noble art of Morris Dancing, the re-creation of a nine-days’ wonder called The Bard's Fool, bewitched cows, scholarship both wondrous and reduced, a special appearance by Edinburgh Fringestitution™ Mervyn Stutter, and the comic possibilities of a dead dog. (Length 19:17)

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