Update: Shakespeare Theatre Company extends ‘Shakespeare Hour LIVE’

Four more live conversations to transport audiences from home into the Shakespearean universe.

Shakespeare Theatre Company has announced expansion of its Shakespeare Everywhere programming with new dates through June 10 for Shakespeare Hour LIVE, an ongoing online tour through every corner of the Shakespeare universe. Each Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Artistic Director Simon Godwin and Resident Dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg examine the world of Shakespeare and our own by discussing two plays from the Shakespearean canon that speak to each other thematically, dramaturgically, and historically. Special guests and friends of the STC extended family will also drop by.

These live conversations will take place online on Zoom and require the viewer to have access to the Internet. Access links will be shared with ticket holders in their order confirmation email.

In Shakespeare’s lifetime, the theaters were closed periodically due to plague outbreaks. The first three of the next four sessions discuss plays written during or just after a few of these closures, which correspond closely to leaps in Shakespeare’s craft and a series of masterpieces.

Week 5, May 20: Virtue & Vice. Plays: Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2

How does Shakespeare dramatize the conflict between good and evil in the battle for the soul of Prince Hal, the future Henry V…and why do the virtuous characters seem so much less fun than the vice-field ones?

Stephen Greenblatt
Kelley Curran

Guests: Actor/Producer/Director Sam Waterston will join Kelley Curran (The Oresteia, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2) and Stephen Greenblatt (Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, and General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and The Norton Shakespeare)

Week 6, May 27: Identity & Ambiguity. Plays: Twelfth Night and As You Like It

Michael Urie

How does Shakespeare explore the mysteries of gender identity and sexuality in these two plays?

Guest: Michael Urie (HamletBuyer & Cellar)

 

Week 7, June 3: Democracy & Empire. Plays: Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra

James Shapiro

How does Shakespeare examine the problems of, respectively, the experiment of self-rule by the people and the extension of one country or people’s sovereignty over others?

Guest: James Shapiro (Professor of English at Columbia University, award-winning Shakespearean author, Shakespeare Scholar-in-Residence at The Public Theater)

Week 8, June 10: Marriage & Mistrust. Plays: Othello and Much Ado About Nothing

How does Shakespeare dramatize the tensions between married (or soon to be married) couples in these two plays?

Guests: TBD

These sessions are free for STC members, season subscribers, and package holders, and only $10 per session for non-members. For more information or to RSVP, visit Shakespeare Hour LIVE or call the box office at 202-547-1122 between noon and 6 PM Monday–Friday.

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The Shakespeare Hour was originally reported April 16, 2020, in Shakespeare Theatre Company announces new digital programming

Shakespeare Theatre Company recently announced the creation of Shakespeare Everywhere, a new platform for engaging with audiences through digital offerings and innovative new content. While theaters remain closed, STC’s staff have been busy reimagining STC as a virtual organization. This initiative will include Online Classes, the #ShakespeareChallenge, and a streaming version of Simon Godwin’s acclaimed production of Twelfth Night—and STC hopes this will allow them to share the inspiration of the classics in homes throughout the District and across the globe.

A significant part of this initiative is The Shakespeare Hour, a month-long online tour through every corner of the Shakespeare universe. Each Wednesday at 7:30 PM, Artistic Director Simon Godwin and Resident Dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg will examine Shakespeare’s world (and our own) by discussing two plays from the canon that speak to each other thematically, dramaturgically, and historically. Special guests and friends of the STC extended family will also drop by.

“All the internet has become a stage. Shakespeare is the electricity fueling our work. Now we have new portals to share his energizing and uplifting vision,” Godwin explains about the decision to move programming online. “Shakespeare himself suffered isolation and closures due to disease. As we live cloistered in our own imaginations, his wisdom can help us through. As Hamlet says, ‘There is infinite space in a nutshell.’ The Shakespeare Hour is one such nutshell. In weekly broadcasts, audiences can travel the classical universe and discover cosmic spaces. Shakespeare looks in both directions—inside our hearts and out—into new worlds. Now is the perfect moment to embark on a soul-expanding journey into what makes Shakespeare more illuminating and inspiring than ever.”

The series will begin on April 22 with “Romance & Magic,” a discussion about Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with special guest Finn Wittrock, who was last seen at STC in 2008, playing Romeo in an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet. Known for his performances in Ryan Murphy’s FX series American Horror Story, Wittrock also played Demetrius in a 2017 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Casey Wilder Mott.

In this inaugural session, the hosts will discuss Shakespeare’s two early masterpieces and why they remain such popular and beloved works, how Shakespeare helps change our understanding of tragedy and comedy, teenage identity, and the magical experience of nature. The discussion will consider what makes these works different from what came before, and Simon’s thoughts on directing Romeo and Juliet for the National Theatre.

The Shakespeare Hour
Wednesday nights at 7:30 PM, starting April 22 – May 13, 2020. Live on Fuzw. Free for STC members, season subscribers, and package holders; $10 for non-members

In Shakespeare’s lifetime, the theaters were closed periodically due to plague outbreaks. Our first three sessions discuss plays written during or just after a few of these closures, which correspond closely to leaps in Shakespeare’s craft, as well as a series of masterpieces.

Week 1, April 22: Romance & Magic. Plays: Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Drew and Simon discuss Shakespeare’s two early masterpieces and why they remain such popular and beloved works. As a new member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare helps change our understanding of tragedy and comedy, teenage identity, and the magical experience of nature. Also discussed: Shakespeare’s “lyric” period, what makes these works different from what came before, Simon’s thoughts on directing Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre. Guest: Finn Wittrock

Week 2, April 29: Ghosts & the Law. Plays: Hamlet and Measure for Measure

In 1596, Shakespeare’s son Hamlet dies from the plague. A few years later, his father dies. In 1603, James Stuart becomes King James I of England. We discuss Hamlet, Shakespeare’s “poem unlimited” and an endlessly fascinating study of grief and spirituality, with its twin in Measure for Measure, a problem comedy that explores the ambiguities and mysteries of authoritarian leadership, the human being’s relationship to the law, and the law’s relationship to all of us. Guests: Jonathan Cake and Yael Farber

Week 3, May 6: Age & Ambition. Plays: King Lear and Macbeth

As a well-decorated member of the King’s Men and a landowner in his native Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare is settling into a lucrative and decorated middle age. What possesses him to write, in the “Year of Lear,” such plays as King Lear and Macbeth, which rank among the greatest of achievements in world drama? And what do these plays tell us about today? Guests: Helen Carey and Stacy Keach

Week 4, May 13: Hope & Rebirth. Plays: The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest

We end with two plays from the end of Shakespeare’s career, which introduce us to a new genre: the Shakespearean Romance. These two plays have almost opposite dramaturgies—The Winter’s Tale traversing wide gaps in space and time while The Tempest has an almost Aristotelian economy. But they share a deep kinship as pictures of Shakespeare’s thinking at his most personal, lyric, and magical, in some ways returning to the inspiration of his earlier “magic” and “romantic” plays while in others reflecting over every aspect of his life and career. Guests: Peter Marks and Patrick Page

These sessions are free for STC members, season subscribers, and package holders, and only $10 per session for non-members. For more information or to RSVP, visit The Shakespeare Hour or call the box office at 202-547-1122 between noon and 6 PM Monday–Friday.

Shakespeare Theatre Company is the nation’s premier classical theater company. For 33 years, STC has become synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theater more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital. 

Tax-deductible contributions can be made at the Shakespeare Theatre Company website.

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