The Shakespearean Student
By The Shakespearean Student
The Shakespearean StudentMar 24, 2023
Review: William Shakespeare's Star Wars: "The Empire Striketh Back" by Ian Doescher (Part 1 of 2)
Happy May the Fourth!
In this episode, I review a Shakespearean parody of "The Empire Strikes Back," lovingly parodied and translated into Shakespearean verse by Ian Doescher. This episode is a two-parter where I talk exclusively about the journey of Luke Skywalker, from humble moisture farmer from Tatooine, into a Jedi Knight.
Why "Upstart Crow" Is Terrible
I know this is subjective, but in my opinion, the BBC series "Upstart Crow" is just a worse version of Blackadder with no stakes and static, unlikable characters. Here I'll be presenting my arguments for why this series doesn't work, but if you like the show, don't take my criticism too seriously. It's all in fun.
Shakespeare and Five Nights At Freddie's
Prepare for a story of murder and supernatural revenge as I discuss the Shakespearean tropes inside the labyrinthian pizza-themed horror maze that is "Five Nights at Freddie's." The gaming franchise has been around for 10 years and has spawned 11 major games, spinoff games, 19 books, countless comics, an upcoming movie (allegedly), and ENDLESS FAN THEORIES. I delve into the familiar themes and tropes that Shakespeare uses in plays such as "Richard III," "Macbeth," "Hamlet," and "Titus Andronicus."
Crafting a Character: Cardinal Woolsey (Part 1 of 2)
I delve into the man and myth of Cardinal Thomas Woolsey, the power behind Henry VIII's throne, whom Shakespeare portrays as a hypocritical, corrupt, and duplicitous villain. Is this historical interpretation valid? Judge for yourself.
Brave Macbeth and Witchy Ladies: How Macbeth contributed to the Disney movies "Hocus Pocus 2," and "Brave" (SPOILERS AND RANT ALERT)
A little witches' brew for your Halloween party: I talk about the tropes of "Macbeth" that are subtly deconstructed in "Hocus Pocus 2" and "Brave." I talk about how these films explore themes of isolation, patriarchy, feminism, and fear of female power. I also lament how these films touch on these issues but in many ways do not go far enough.
Crafting a Character: Kent from "King Lear"
I tell the story of King Lear from the point of view of his loyal servant, the Earl of Kent. I'm actually playing this character over Discord and Youtube Live this weekend, so stay tuned for that performance!
Hamlet's Six Soliloquies, Part I
A close reading of "O That This Too Too Solid Flesh," "O What A Rogue and Peasant Slave Am I," and "To Be Or Not To Be."
Cymbeline: A Reincarnation of Shakespeare's Plays
I go through the complex plot of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline," focusing on the heroine Imogen. This will include a close reading of the famous scene in which she wakes up near a headless corpse!
Interview with Jeff Chips, director of Steel City Shakespeare
I reminisce with my former director Jeff Chips, who directed me in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" back in 2010. We also discuss his philosophy at Steel City Shakespeare, and his upcoming production of "The Merry Wives Of Windsor."
Independence Day and "Anonymous"
I discuss the film "Anonymous" by Roland Emmerich, which tells the story of Edward DeVere, considered by many to be the true author of Shakespeare's plays.
Play Of the Month: "The Comedy Of Errors."
Some fun and frivolous reflections on Shakespeare's shortest and silliest comedy, "The Comedy Of Errors."
Episode 11: William Shakespeare's Star Wars
I give dramatic readings and some heartfelt analysis of a wonderful mash-up of Shakespeare and my favorite film series: "William Shakespeare's Star Wars," a play by Ian Droesher.
Special thanks to Online Classical, 123 Apps, Kessel Labs, and of course, Anchor for their technical support in this episode.
Crafting A Character: Brutus
I try to unravel the mystery of Shakespeare's most ambiguous character: Brutus from "Julius Caesar."
Shakespeare's Roman Women
For Women's History Month, I do an analysis of Shakespeare's Roman Characters- Tamara and Lavinia in "Titus Andronicus," Portia in "Julius Caesar," Valumnia in "Coriolanus," and Cleopatra in "Antony and Cleopatra." This will include some historical context into the feminine values that Romans instilled in their women, which carried over into Shakespeare's day. I argue that in all his plays, but especially in his Roman plays, Shakespeare challenges and subverts traditional gender norms, but always in a subtle and balanced way.
Shakespeare and Shrove Tuesday
I examine the traditions of Shrove Tuesday and Lent, and how they transfer into plays like "Merchant of Venice" and "Measure For Measure"
Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene i in Modern English
A dramatic reading of Act V, Scene i of "Romeo and Juliet." This is a modern type paraphrase by Perfection Learning, (2012). All parts played by me.
Romeo and Juliet- Act I, Scene v in modern text
A full dramatized reading of the first meeting between Romeo and Juliet in a modern paraphrase by Perfection Learning.
Paul Hricik- Lord Capulet, Cousin Cauplet, Tybalt, Benvolio, and Romeo
Sara Hricik- Juliet, Nurse
Romeo and Juliet Paraphrase- Act I, Scene iii
Modern paraphrase of Act I, Scene iii of Romeo and Juliet. All parts played by Sara Hricik.
Romeo and Juliet (modern paraphrase), Act I, Scene iv
My interpretation of Mercutio's Queen Mab speech, from Act I, Scene iv of "Romeo and Juliet."
My favorite Sonnets
I delve into the mysterious world of Shakespeare's sonnets, explaining what a sonnet is, the strange conspiracies that have arisen around them, and the way they inspire passion, thought, and awe in people who read and listen to them.
Romeo and Juliet, Act I Scene i in modern English
This is another recording of the first scene of "Romeo and Juliet," where I read a paraphrase of the text, written by Rene Weis of University College, London, not Shakespeare's dialogue. Note the way she adapts different ideas from the text to make sense to modern audiences. Some ideas like the concept of humours don't directly translate to modern audiences, so there will always be limitations when you read a "translation" of Shakespeare instead of the actual play. Nevertheless, Professor Weis' version does a great job of preserving the emotional journey of the characters, and the metaphors and imagery Shakespeare uses in a modern context.
Romeo and Juliet Act I, Scene ii
Here's a dramatic reading of Act I, Scene ii of Romeo and Juliet. All the parts are played by ME! This is actually a paraphrase of the Shakespearean text that you can use in your classroom.
Romeo and Juliet Act I, Scene i
A dramatic reading of the first scene of Romeo and Juliet. All parts played by ME!
The Prologue of Romeo and Juliet
To start off a month of "Romeo and Juliet" Podcasts, I begin at the beginning (literally) and break down the history, context, and language of the 14 line Prologue of "Romeo and Juliet."
Disney's "Encanto"- It's like "King Lear" with a happy ending
One thing I like to do when I teach Shakespeare is point out how his plots and characters are so timeless that we can see them in many modern forms of media. I particularly believe this is true with Disney (since both Disney and Shakespeare made use of fairy tales in their work). In this episode, I trace the connective roots between the Disney movie "Encanto," and the Shakespearean tragedy "King Lear."
Crafting A Character: Shylock
In the post, I will delve into the history of the role and how 20th and 21st-century actors have grappled with the portrayal of Shylock. I will be talking about how I would interpret the play for a modern audience.
Episode 6: Crafting A Character- Malvolio
Malvolio in Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare's most beloved comic characters- the snobby obsequious steward to Countess Olivia who is tricked into wearing ridiculous clothes and acting like a fool. Does he deserve the pranks that are played on him, or is this an example of Elizabethan bullying that shouldn't be tolerated today? I share my insights from playing both this part and the clown Feste, whom Malvolio insults and is later duped by Feste. It's a thoughtful discussion about the relevance of the play, and its themes and ideas.
What Shakespeare's "Merchant Of Venice" Says About the Holidays
I delve into the religious traditions of Hannukah, Kwanza, and Christmas that Shakespeare represents in the characters of Shylock, Antonio, and the Prince of Morocco in "The Merchant of Venice." The play isn't cheery, has very few gifts, and has no Santa, but it nevertheless has a lot to say to people of different faiths who celebrate this holiday season.
Episode 4: The Dark History of American Witch Hunts
I trace the history of Witch Hunts from Shakespeare’s time to the most infamous American witch hunt: The Salem Witch Trial.
Episode 3: Shakespeare On Soldiers Part 1
I discuss the various soldier characters in Shakespeare's plays from Talbott in Henry VI to Mercutio to Falstaff! How does Shakespeare portray the lives of soldiers in these plays? How does he change his views on the military over time?
Episode 2: The Curse Of Macbeth
Is the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare really cursed? I go through the history, cultural context, and my own experience playing the title role to talk about this famous theater superstition. I also look at elements from "Macbeth" that appear in "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe, and the TV show "Breaking Bad."
Episode 1: How to Read a Shakespeare Play For the Very First Time!
Many of us have fealt intimidated reading a Shakespearean play. Especially since they were designed to be heard onstage not read at home or in the classroom. Here are some helpful tips for you to get the most out of a Shakespeare play.