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The Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours Happy Hours | ASC Reunion Roundtable with Sarah Fallon, Allison Glenzer, Rene Thornton, Jr., Benjamin Curns

Jeremy chats with theatre professionals Sarah Fallon, Allison Glenzer, Rene Thornton, Jr., and Benjamin Turns about their work during COVID and their work together.
Patreon members get exclusive access to the official Cocktail Hours live stream, where patrons get to choose the content and interact with  the hosts. Join us there at patreon.com/sweetteashakes. We are a 501(c)3 charitable  organization.
Contact us at hours@sweetteashakespeare.com 
The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig and edited by Ashanti Bennett. Owen Eddy wrote our theme son.
This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from  the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts  Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
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0

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1

00:01:06
Hello, welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours where we spend time. Well, by spending it together I’m Claire Martin

0

00:01:20
I’m Jeremy hello. Umm, I work here at Sweet Tea Shakespeare and I’m here with a bunch of friendly faces that they know each other. I know them, some of them I worked with way back in the day at the American Shakespeare center. Ah, and some of them I did not work with, but I know from having seen them, we like ran and overlapping circles, I guess you would say. Ah, and so we’re here today to just sort of see what’s up it’s to do a little hello, old war stories and pick spear fun.

0

00:01:57
So I just want to, so we’ve got Rene Sarah Allison and Ben,

1

00:02:04
Hi, I’m really appreciating how I’ve been watching the news and watching everyone to figure this medium out of being able to be interviewed. And I’m now very much appreciated with all of them and them have true with it and get better at it the last month. I’m Allison I right now doing a lot of a volunteer calling for the democratic party and a four different a protest organizations and doing a lot of online, a registering of pushing for registration of a vote are under straight standing democratic at the end of it and doing a little bit of protesting some of myself in st.

1

00:02:53
Paul. And then I’m also training for a mini

2

00:03:00
Mini triathlon. This is not a full triathlon, but I am training and I can I’ve I’m almost ready. I can do all of the components and I will start next week putting them together and doing them at the same time four in the same day or hopefully in the same two days. I don’t know. That’s what I’m Tea Hey, if you need any tips, you know that I had to do one of those for grad school thing that you would, if you’re coming to visit me, I was hoping you would tell me exactly what I’m into my, you know, you’ll help.

2

00:03:35
Yeah, it’s been, it’s been a hot minute since I did it, but I do have that on my checklist of things that I’ve done. So I’m all about it. It’s going to take me a lot longer than a hot minute, but

3

00:03:49
Alex Vanik at is watching hi Alex

2

00:03:53
Down under.

3

00:03:55
All right, Ben, it’s your turn. Hey everyone. My name is Ben Curns and I’m living in West Haven, Connecticut right here on long Island sound. And I, I spent the last year as a M on the faculty with Southern Connecticut state university where I was teaching and directing some plays and the summer I’m doing some work with the Elm Shakespeare company and helping to organize some of their online camp activities.

3

00:04:26
And as well as working with the Shakespeare Academy of Stratford, just up the road in Stratford, Connecticut with my friend Sarah Holden. Excellent. So where would you all mind telling, telling us, like assume that I’m a dope, how, you know each other?

2

00:04:48
So I’m at, I’m at Rene first because Rene graduated from the university of Delaware’s professional theater training program in the class directly before mine. And he came to visit a few times while I was in school and Sasha is that we did. And so I met him, you know, we would hang out and have a drink at the bar, but I didn’t really know him that well. And then weirdly we both got cast at the same time in 2004 to go to the ASC and that was both of our first season’s there.

2

00:05:18
And then over the years we got cast opposite when another a lot. And he, he he’s my Los or my lover on stage. That’s what I like to call him. We counted at one point to figure out how many times we had actually been on, you know, been paired it’s a lot of time.

3

00:05:37
I think we have played lovers 14 times.

2

00:05:40
That sounds right. That sounds, that sounds right. And you know, Ben, Ben’s up there too. I’m at Penn for the first time in, in Virginia at the ASC and then Allison I met outside of a bar in New York, randomly. We shared a cigarette hanging out with mutual friends years before we actually worked together at the American Shakespeare center.

4

00:06:08
Me neither, me neither.

2

00:06:12
It was right after I toured. And before she was hired or maybe you just knew you had been hired or they haven’t gone yet. Yeah, I hadn’t, I hadn’t started yet is totally random. It was totally, it was totally random when they were in where we shared a lot of friends because she went to grad school at LSU and a lot of her grad school people worked with me at Colorado shakes before I ever made it to the ASC. But really Virginia is what solidified my relationship with all three of these people.

2

00:06:46
And then that, yeah, that’s how I met Sarah. And then Ben was in the touring troupe that started at right after mine. So I guess we were hired in the summer and you guys were, I guess kind of hired or

4

00:07:03
Let me start. And I think a month after a year or two, yeah,

2

00:07:05
Like a month after. So that’s when I met Ben. And so we were, they were sort of at the same time, but two different 200 troops. And then I didn’t, I met Rene the first day when I started, when I came back and started with the resident drew and he had already, he had already been there for a while and a new Sarah and, and Ben and everything. And so I met that’s the difference. That’s when I met him. Although he, I thought he was very cute on the pictures of everyone where we got sent the pictures of him.

2

00:07:38
Oh yeah. Well, Ben Ben was responsible for helping me understand what acting on stage at the Blackfriars was all about because I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took the job. I didn’t know. The first time I saw with a theater actually looked like was in my welcome packet that they sent me, there was a postcard of the block fire’s play house and my jaw dropped and I thought it was so beautiful. And, but I had no idea. I hadn’t really done that much research on it.

2

00:08:08
They offered me roles that I absolutely could not turn down. And I had recently graduated from grad school. So I was, I was rip-roaring to go and also to get out of New York city because I did not enjoy my time there. It was very expensive and very hard. So I was happy to come and play a Porsche in a merchant of Venice. And the Helena in Midsummer and madams were bell in the liaisons. I was jumping to rip roaring to go out and they were doing I’m Henry fore at the time.

2

00:08:38
And I stopped was the first show I ever saw on the black fire stage. And it was the touring troupe had brought their shows home from the road. And so I got to see all of them performing in front of a live audience and really understanding like, Oh, okay. I had never seen theater like that before. And I didn’t, you know, I certainly wasn’t, you know, their, they don’t train you to do with theatre with the lights on. So watching, watching you guys, you know, ECMO was extremely educational for me. And I was very grateful to see an awesome group of people do it so well and provide such a great example.

4

00:09:14
Cheers. Sarah Rene Rene answer. We’re like, we’re like ships on the night. Cause they, they got there, you know, as we were, as my last tour was a, a finishing their residency. So they don’t like as, as our true left, theirs came in and then, and then I was gone for, I dunno, like a year and a half, two years and came back and did my residency, my first rent season. That was the first time that Rene I work together and, and, and like sort of the, the earth shifts or at least minded, there’s a little like, you know, I seen him on stage at a Miriam onstage and Jon Harrell onstage and then not.

4

00:09:57
And then I was on the same cast, his, all of them. And that was that’s that’s, that’s a pretty addictive drug. Yeah. I mean, I, similarly I guess I’m, everyone’s covered Sarah yes. Allie winter’s tale was our first show right together, Sarah and I’s what’s the most lamentable comedy. It’s all stuff. I remember that one that I love about benches. My experience with Ben was at, Sarah mentioned to see his Falstaff, who the hell, this, after a lot of work, this is awesome.

4

00:10:37
And I remember at the party and at one factor is towards the end of the contract. Oh s**t. Two of us never really had this conversation with an actor before of like the both of us. You’re a f*****g awesome. And I wanna work with you. I’m like, I hope that, and then it did. Yeah. And I should go ahead. Allison I think you’re about to say the same thing as me.

2

00:11:07
I’ve had very dysfunctional marriages with Ben, quite a few, not as many relationships as Rene in there, but I think we’re probably equaling them for dysfunctional.

4

00:11:18
Yeah. I think all of our Sarah nice relationships work equally.

2

00:11:24
I mean, you killed me a lot. You, there was a lot of it. Yeah. Did you ever started saying no, I never, I don’t think I ever killed you, but I was responsible for your heartbreak and the change Lang. So that, that felt like a little bit of sweet revenge, but now I don’t think I’ve ever killed you. It’s funny because a lot of the women, even the strong women that I’ve played, who might do something like that, they usually end up killing themselves like Dido,

1

00:11:54
You know, she kills herself over you. If Audrey and the maid’s tragedy, she kills herself. But it seems, it seems like these, these women who are such bad asses and they’re like, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m strong and I’m going to do this. And then they end up being their own. The hand of their own demise is by themselves. Okay. I think all of you have killed me or ordered to kill me.

4

00:12:19
Very good variation.

1

00:12:20
Yeah.

4

00:12:23
Well we’ve also loved each other.

1

00:12:25
Yeah. We have, I, you guys are definitely a part of a dream team. Golden time for me at the ASC there are others, other actors who are I consider in that group, but all three of you, for me, it was just magic. Yeah. Yeah. Great. The partnership I’ve had with each of you in different plays are some of the most important and incredibly fulfilling times on stage that I’ve ever had.

4

00:12:55
I echo that 100% and we’ll also say that I’ve worked now with a few companies since leaving the ASC and it has made a clearer what a special moment we got to participate is and how lucky are. Absolutely. Absolutely.

0

00:13:14
So can, can I ask for those folks who might be listening, who don’t know what the ASC is or how it works from your pointing a little bit now to ensemble, and this is the, the repertory and the idea of coming back, working with the same people over and over again, you talk a little bit about that and about sort of ASC broadly and what it does and what kind of theater it makes.

4

00:13:36
Well, I mean, I don’t know that any of us are particularly well versed on the current state of the American Shakespeare center, but they could speak to what it was when we were there, which was a company that was based in original practices. As Sarah mentioned, the theater, there’s the world’s only the patient Blackfriars play house. And the mission was about taking that style and the practice that Shakespeare this company has and what can we learn from those?

1

00:14:05
And the company was equal parts, or even before the theater was built about that Turing ability to bring to colleges, whatever, a place that you were in, whether it be an actual theater or the event, you know, whatever kind of coffee bar they could make shifted into a space, but making sure that those practices like the lights being on like the actors, having communication or it with the audience or in different sparse set the, using the language to create where you were bringing that out on tour.

1

00:14:42
And then also then using the Blackfriars to show how that would have been done within the architecture of the time. I should also maybe clarify, cause

2

00:14:52
I know we’ve already mentioned <inaudible> so if people don’t know what that is, the very first Renaissance season happened in 2005, and that was a further exploration about what lets get a little bit closer to maybe what they were doing in Shakespeare’s day. So that’s 12 actors, no directors, no designers. So the actors are directing themselves in each other and their picking out of their own costumes. And there are making the decisions for what goes on stage and in some of the most chaotic time. And also some of the most exhilarating time when, when I was at the ASC, the very first one was a nightmare and I had stopped doing them for a few years after that I was like, yes, I will be a part of this experiment.

2

00:15:34
And then it was horrible. And I said, yeah, I’ll come back. And a few years, once you get some kinks, figure it out. So I think, I actually think that 2009 season, yeah, that was my first. That was my first return to the Redlands. Is it a three for a year break and between it, but just so people understand what that is. Cause I imagine that will probably come up again rent season.

3

00:15:54
And I’d like to mention too that in the period that the four of us were there, I think one of the other big structural and institutional change is that the company went through was the, the huge increase in performance of life music. Like just in the time that I was there. You know, I remember on my first to where you were maybe preparing two to three songs for a show and by the time I left, you were expected to a craft closer to, you know, 10 in terms of, you know, like six per and then what, you know, whatever else happened to the show or whatever.

3

00:16:34
But that I think is like something that now is associated with the company that sort of came to fruition during this quartets, a tenure ship over there.

2

00:16:48
We did pretty good. We summed that up. Of course

3

00:16:52
Everyone understands. So can I ask you why Shakespeare, what, what drew each of you to Shakespeare what’s kept you in it? What do you think? What’s your favorite? Yeah. What do you think

2

00:17:11
For me? I’ll I’ll start, I have very little experience with a Shakespeare before actually going to grad school. So I had been in two Shakespeare shows. My first one was the summer when I was 17, before I started college and I was in much ado about nothing. And I played the messenger who comes in and act one and I was a funeral dancer as well. And you may say, well, a funeral dancer Shakespeare didn’t right. That and you will be correct. He did not, but I danced with a torch and a, and a Cape around heroes monument.

2

00:17:45
And that was my big introduction to Shakespeare now going grad school. Part of the reason that I went, where I went, which the university of Delaware only it’s now defunct, but they only focused on the classics. So you really were being trained to be a classical actor and they made it a point to say, we’re not training film actors. We’re not training teachers. We are training you for life in LA, by theater doing the classics. And that’s when I really, really got into it. And then getting the job at the ASC after that Shakespeare I was in full immersion with the classics and the Shakespeare.

2

00:18:18
And for me, the reason that I kept coming back was it’s the language is so rich and so diverse. And the, these are extraordinary people in an Epic circumstances, you know? And how often do you get the chance to play that? And to imagine what that would be like in to share that with an audience. And I’ve had the good fortune of repeating a lot of roles as well, and I never got tired of them and I was always learning, learning new things when I came back to them, which was very exciting for me. So I think, you know, there are a lot of other authors that maybe I wouldn’t, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to do David Ives over and over again, or, you know, but there’s something about the richness of the language for Shakespeare that kept me coming back.

5

00:19:04
Yeah,

3

00:19:06
I did. My first Shakespeare play in my first semester in undergrad and I had, you know, I only read it in high school beforehand and, and, and I went out for it only because it was like the first play they were doing and it was Romeo and Juliet and I was a freshman and I got cast as Paris and the director made a big point to tell me, like, you’re really lucky to be playing the character with a name, but, you know, but I, I regularly remember that.

3

00:19:41
I remember like I would go to rehearsals, but I wasn’t called for, because I had never been in a theater that, that was that big. And, you know, there were actress who are really very good and I was standing in the wings, watching them. They are rehearsals the opening scene, and this is the play. I, you know, I didn’t really know it was a play that I hadn’t read in high school. So I mean, like, if you can imagine, like I was going in and watching this for our first of all, and I didn’t know what was gonna happen and up in volume came in and he was like, you know, heartful is put up your swords, you know, not what you do and that when the table came out and he was like, you know, drawn, or where does he say, is this a, you know, turn a leap in volume low and look upon the death.

3

00:20:24
And I remember I had like, literally I had goosebumps was just like watching in the wings. And I think one of the things that was really exciting to me was I was like, I don’t need a lexicon to enjoy this. Like I know what he means when he says turn and the lack of how am I debt? Then they started fighting and I was like, Oh, all I want to do is, and what they’re doing. So yeah, that, and then I think like, Sarah, I, you know, I got, when I got the job at ASC, then shut into a Shakespeare.

3

00:20:59
I was like, Happy to have a job. And then, ah, and then Ralph, who is one of the cofounders, Ralph Cohen, he came to our, our truth and he, he gave a talk on Henry the fifth and he, he finished this lecture on Henry the fifth and it was as, Oh, he had an effect, given the ones the more onto the breech, the speech, you know, I had never heard of anyone heard anyone sort of speak about the text and the way that he talked about it and made it so relatable.

3

00:21:33
So contemporary. And I remember like a, it was a, it was a big experience that day, hearing that talk. Cause I was like, I I’m, you know, when that thing was done, I was, I was twice as happy to have to be where I was. And twice as happy to sort of carry the flag, I’ll say favorites for later,

1

00:22:04
I went to, for undergrad, I went to a Clemson university and there was this wonderful dr. Andreas, that was just a wonderful Shakespeare professor and kind of started at Clemson it’s own sort of Shakespeare class school. And he loved to a company called Shanandoah Shakespeare express a adored them and thought they hung the moon. And, but it was a really great class. It was all closed circuit. We tried to television on the desk and we keep, he would have different companies so that we could watch their performances and everything, but he would bring, and so the SSC would come all of the time and I loved Shakespeare.

1

00:22:45
I was already an English major. I was already a real, you know, reader of, I love Shakespeare stuff. This was a romantic, I guess, but he, I was on scholarship and I had to stay out in the lobby during shows sometimes that we’re from other companies to take old people in the golf cart, to their cars. That was like my job. And so I was peeking watching a show that the ASC nine and this guy came through the lobby and he was like, you know, you can just walk in and the lights are on, it’s no big deal. And I said, I know, but I got to take the old people in the golf cart and not allowed to leave the lobby.

1

00:23:20
And there are so great. And I just started platting and he’s listening to me and he goes, well, I’m Jim Warren, I’m the artistic director. And I think you might work for me someday. And he shook my hand and I was like, Oh, I can’t, you know, and then, but he kept up with me and I ended up being in a show at Clemson during the festival. So he saw it, he, he made a point to come see it. It was a, I was Adriana and you know, a, in comedy of errors and then he would all, and then I, I was a finalist for Irene Ryan for a couple of, you know, every year.

1

00:23:53
And he always sort of be at that SCTC thing. And he, he just kept up with me and then I went to grad school and he, he just, and then I got a postcard when I was finishing grad school that said, alright, you get in New York, its this day, come, come and see where he, let me see what you got. And I said, okay. And so, and that I got cast at that scene and a, for the, for the tour. And I played all men except for a lady Monte,

6

00:24:28
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4

00:25:03
Wasn’t Kate North

1

00:25:04
In that show that you saw in Columbus. It was because she was there all week. It was like three different shows. And I loved her cause I had gotten to see the Richard and I was like obsessed with her. So I was speaking, but it was the, it was the 12th night that I had to work the lobby for. So, which also Jim’s wife was in. So I was like, yeah. So, so then I guess then once working for ASC and that live audience and the laboratory, that was that stage in how much I learned.

1

00:25:38
Cause in grad school I’ve worked for Shakespeare and company and then tried by them. So I had a real deep love of the language and using the language emotionally and felt very well trained in my classical theater program and, and shake and co. But I feel like though the way that we’ve worked then in that, that building and those practices taught me so viscerally how to attack the language and with a discipline, but also a vulnerability that just really stuck with me and changed my life and made me a door being a part of the laboratory.

1

00:26:17
It felt like every single time it was an experiment in how we could, within that containment of those practices truly be boundless and the creativity.

4

00:26:32
Yeah. Yes,

1

00:26:34
Yes. It’s funny. I mean, like,

4

00:26:39
I just have to say like, these are three of the people are I’d love like a, these are three have the best actors that I have ever worked with Allie. And what’s funny Sarah is sort of Sarah is interaction kind of hits it the best I could tell all three of those stories. I know all three of those stories, we’ve all sat in so many talk backs together. A hundred percent. I tell all through books where they could tell mine when I was 15, when I was in high school, my, our school district had a summer Shakespeare program that they sponsored.

4

00:27:20
And so my first Shakespeare was in the summer. I played over on a and then the next summer I got to play Shylock and merchants. So those were my first introductions to Shakespeare. So I went to a The BFA at the training program, the university of Utah, that specifically focused on the classics because there was something that was lining up with what felt good to me, I’ll write to me or my course of my time there. One of the discoveries that I made was that as an actor who was an after a color, I found Shakespeare a pre and a place for me that in contemporary drama plays television film, the examples of the kind of work that would be available to me were not great.

4

00:28:13
I did not want to do any of those things. What I did want to do, let’s play the kinds of parts that SHEEX, I mean, I started with Oberon and Shylock for a second. So I want to do more. I want, I want to wrestle with that language. I know what that feels like. I want gum. I just kind of kept pushing out in the night. Sarah mentioned in grad school. A and so, and that program was a very specifically classic based.

2

00:28:47
I would also like your viewers to know that Allison and Rene have both completed the Canon. That’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.

7

00:28:57
The BFD is our, a democratic nominee would say yes. So yeah,

4

00:29:08
To that end. Cause it, Allie, you mentioned it a little bit earlier about us. She played mostly men that first season. And like one of the things I thought was really, I ended up taking for granted about the ASC was how much cross gender casting to be had there. And it happened so much women, more often women played men than men, women. Sure. Shakespeare female roles. And there there’s just so many more, but I, you know, I did 118 place at the ASC and every single one of them had written same post.

4

00:29:47
And so I took it for granted. This is something that happened all of the time and to get your statement down, to see companies like break their arm, to pass themselves and for casting one woman one, are you kidding me? We’ve been doing that for years

1

00:30:04
In my first season. I was Jake’s. And as you like it Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and the clown in winter stale get out. I mean, and people who are like, Oh, we gave her, you know, Cause you know, Romeo could have a girlfriend.

4

00:30:28
Yeah,

1

00:30:29
Yeah. It was. I think, I mean it, and then it with, you know, Ben played the nurse, which was wonderful and, and I played the fryer and that was a beautiful experience to watch him. I mean, just you him change the, the dress and the outfit and everything. And so not getting that as much, watching a man transform into such a wonderful lady that I kind of wanted to just lay on her breasts and tell her that, you know, am I okay?

1

00:31:00
But, but Sarah and I so many times, you know, you got to transform, you know, to so many different warriors, clowns, drunk men in bars, you know,

4

00:31:15
What are you laughing about? I’m sorry. It’s like, there’s two things that just jumped out. She was like, Sarah is also been a man. I was like, Sarah wore pants and like simulated sex with a suitcase. Everyone watched her happen a bunch of times. I don’t know that that’s high art, but it did. Tim sailor says, hello. Hi Tim.

1

00:31:44
We got to do a lot of a really fabulous, you know, love, loving things like Sarah and her suitcase there.

4

00:31:56
I want to point out too. So watching us,

1

00:32:01
She says she can’t comment, but she loves, she loves it and wants to be with us. Merriam is part of the crew as well. The dream team crew next time Miriam. Yeah.

4

00:32:12
Will get it done. Rene an wore dresses along with Chris Johnston and the Tempest. Yes. I’ve seen that happen twice in a rich, which I’m Richard, in which to this day remains the only mid performance standing ovation I’ve ever seen. Never again. I’ve never, I’ve never since the time.

4

00:32:43
Yes. Oh my God.

1

00:32:47
That was truly beautiful thing to witness this in a sequined dresses. It was thanks to the whole. So I’m wondering, I’m wondering, do you guys have, do you have rolls that are in the Shakespeare Canon that you would like to play that you haven’t gotten to that you there? Cause I mean to you in leu and Rene have done all the plays, but AR is there a role that’s still out there for you that you go, Ooh, I really want to get my chances with that one.

4

00:33:22
It’s funny you say that because I, since leaving the ASC is not a thing I bring up, but inevitably will then read and see that I have done all that s**t. And then, then people somehow translate to be the place where someone will be like, well Rene’s what are you playing, Joe a*****e over there and f*****g backstage pounded on the sheet.

4

00:34:03
I don’t know

1

00:34:08
Is in every single room.

4

00:34:13
That’s funny.

1

00:34:19
I would love, I know. It’s great. I would love to do a Leer. I just, I dunno. I just, I there’s something about it. We got lots of time. You got that one. It would probably be in my backyard, but you know, he’s outside a lot.

4

00:34:39
Theatre is only happening in backyards,

1

00:34:44
You know, so it’s all, it will work out just fine. And you know, he’s, you know, he wouldn’t even notice that people where there anyway, so and so, but, or, or just to be a part of it. And then there’s one that I just never, never seen a Juliet do what I would do with it. And I, I know I’m too old. I never was going to get cast in that I always was to curvy and older looking at it never was going to happen, but nobody’s ever done it, right?

4

00:35:14
No, that way about it, about Romeo. So maybe we should, are you guys,

1

00:35:20
So, you know, I love to tackle it, maybe fail too, but you know, I’m like my, at least I would fail different than everybody else. Always Satan’s to fail is the same.

4

00:35:36
Are you guys are close

2

00:35:38
To it and read this? I want to play Henry the fifth. Yeah. Yeah. Great. I would really like to tackle that one. I think, I mean, most of the female roles or the traditionally, you know, I’ve gotten to, I’ve been lucky enough to get to do all of the biggies. You know, the Juliette is the one that I missed out on as well. I just never, well, Romeo and Juliet as a play of my six that I had left before I’ve finished the cannon Romeo and Juliet to the one, one of the ones I’ve never been in

3

00:36:04
Six is my number two. Oh yeah. Yep.

2

00:36:09
Very close. Yeah. You can taste it, but not, you know, it’s is it doable? It’s doable. Let’s see. Explain this. I mean, and, and we, you know, Ben we’ve crossed off Henry the eighth, which is a Tea you know, like we’ve done. Yeah. I’ve done time in, I’ve done Henry. You’re the ones that actually people were never going to get, you know? But like you could, you could lady Capulet tomorrow. Yes. I believe, I believe that is true. Well, maybe not COVID times, but

3

00:36:41
Right. Insert here, but anybody who missed Sarah is Katherine and Henry, the eighth is missed out there. They taught me in that role, in that play. It’s extraordinary. It’s a shame that the play doesn’t get done often. Sarah thank you. It’s funny. I was just, I was just pulling speeches for this class that I’m teaching on Monday and like, where, you know, we’re trying to do this by a crash course in like, versus in text. And so we’re like, well, we need a speech, like with a, a good use of in Germany.

3

00:37:15
And I was like, sounds like Katherine of Aragon, Gertrude and her Miami. Like, I don’t even know. I don’t even care about men, which is like, those three words with women alone will teach you a little something about like black line endings, how to play with line and things. And like, whether you jump over or not, you know, but it was fun to read that speech again. Plus we open that show with a f*****g and Henry the eighth.

3

00:37:46
Yeah, Henry the eighth. I am, I am. That’s a long time

0

00:37:51
Was a kid. It was a moment

3

00:37:58
Jeremy didn’t pull out. No, no, it was delightful. My mouth was a little open. I think

2

00:38:06
All of our scenes, like the West wing.

3

00:38:13
Yeah.

2

00:38:14
We tried to move like they fit.

3

00:38:19
I was up on pre-show alley.

2

00:38:21
Oh, that was a great pre-show. Yup.

0

00:38:28
So what are you up to now? I know it’s COVID time, but do you guys have projects going on that you are excited about and want to talk about?

4

00:38:39
I it’s funny for the cricket noise. If we had had this conversation two weeks ago, I would have been like, no, my ass is staring at my walls. That’s all I do these days. But then in the last week, all of a sudden, everybody decided that they needed to do a reading right now. I don’t know what was happened last week of June, but everybody decided to it was time. Ah, and so I’m currently rehearsing three classes with a quintessence theatre in Philadelphia, mid-summer live stream and which we read tomorrow.

4

00:39:19
That’s why it wasn’t my brain yet. I am also speaking of ASC, I am in a reading of a brand new play by Jenna Holden, a few. What’s also a company, a member of ASC for a while that Jim Warren is actually directing and there is some old ASC folks and that a quick fill since they are high times a day are there. And it’s great to see them as well. And let’s the other thing that I’m reading right now. Oh, and then for San Diego read a book, I am reading a JQ, a Aaron poster shake you a and a new sort of companion piece.

4

00:39:53
And he’s writing to that are doing that.

1

00:39:58
That’s a lot when you say rehearsing right now, like, does that like, is that like this or like zoom or? Okay, so you just sort of read it over.

4

00:40:08
Yeah. It’s, you know, the first thing on zoom, its not in the area is not right. It’s stuff about ideal. That’s not, and it’s weird because I’m now rehearsing with a company. They all know each other, like I showed up on the ASC or a state and I’m the one knew guy and looked at him, no I’ve witnessed. Then people go through that. And it’s interesting. Cause I went through it in the fall when I joined credit and I’m going through it and now this group means, and it’s maybe even feared or by the fact that guests were all in rehearsal at the end of the day, it still in my office alone staring at it.

1

00:40:44
Is there the hope that you will be doing this together in a space? In the fall. Okay. Okay. And what is fall like as early as September,

4

00:40:54
A late September, October,

1

00:40:58
And then let me know right there in everything you do is online. Like every teaching thing is over the computer or can you meet in small groups or teaching?

4

00:41:14
Yeah.

1

00:41:15
Oh, sorry. Looking at it. And I couldn’t tell

4

00:41:18
I’m sorry. It’s my, my picture is sort of alternates between all of you. This the spring like rape, you know like mid-March the campus closed? So we did everything on online and for me it was because I actually had directed

3

00:41:34
A play and we closed the week before the quarantine began. So we were like really glad in that sort of counted as one of my classes for that semester. And then the other one was more of like a, an intro to theater theater history class. So it was pretty easy to do online and it was not a performance based class, a for the fall they were talking about perhaps doing some kind of hybrid thing where something like some class days, our online and sometimes we meet the good news is, is that like for the first time at working at this university, normally the acting class that I teach is like the intro to acting class and I have 20 students in it.

3

00:42:18
And this time I’m teaching like an act in to class on a, a, a Shakespeare workshop in, I have six each shot, which is like, that’s like a grad school of science class or, or at least you’re a mother. And it means that we can like spread out and like, we can, we can meet. There is still some question about whether or not we’re going to have to do masks or whatever the drag is that I was a slotted to direct a play for the main stage next year.

3

00:42:51
And we’re now we’ve swapped that out so that the, the big fall in musical is going to be in the spring. And in hopes that like we can do that one more traditionally as the musical tends to be a big recruiter. Ah, and my play we’re actually going to do as a straight radio player. And I don’t mean like a visual player where you see the people recording. I mean, like we’re gonna record and booths and then we’re gonna put it out like as a link that you can just download and listen to as you go.

3

00:43:24
And that’s going to be, the shadows is going to be a, a newer translation of Ibsen’s a enemy of the people. Right. Sounds right up your alley.

2

00:43:43
Sarah in Texas does is looking back. Texas has a real bad. Yeah. And then texts is going up. Like you guys are trying to win the lottery

3

00:43:52
To be number one,

2

00:43:54
The big numbers. We’d like letters here when he in the COVID race. Well, every day, last week, except for Wednesday, we set a new record. So setting records every day for our not only number, a positive test cases, but also the number of hospitalizations. So a that’s been, that’s been on an a seven day trends since then with one, one day. And the exception here’s County, which is not where I am, it’s Houston. So it’s for our South. There, there they are considering maybe going back on lockdown or a, because governor Abbott refuses to make any regulations statewide.

2

00:44:32
He’s leaving it up to mayors and other people to decide what’s best for their city or for their area. So, so far nobody’s doing that. And what I’ve, what I’ve noticed is not from the get, go from the middle of March, they only, the only place that I’ve rarely been at the store, right? I mean, that’s, that’s where I go. I do go to the grocery store, not nearly as frequently as I used to. And I, at the beginning of this, maybe 35 to 40% of people would have masks on right. A, about two weeks in, they started requiring the employees at the stores to wear masks that wasn’t happening for like the first month almost.

2

00:45:10
And in the last three weeks or so those numbers have gone down. It’s now 15 to 20% of the people that I see out, have a mask on it’s it’s very scary. People are very selfish. And for the most part, Texans just seem to be, they’re done with it. They’re over it. And they, since its over in their mind, they are just going to go back to normal. I mean bar’s this week and go upset at bars and restaurants can go up to 75% capacity. Even though we’re breaking these records, we’re bumping it up to phase three.

2

00:45:43
So yeah. Is crazy. It’s very nice here. Yeah. There’s I would almost rather be anywhere else right now. I mean, honestly, well Florida’s not looking so great and Arizona is not looking so great.

0

00:45:59
You don’t Carolina is a write up there with you. I must say I was going to say Jeremy is to take our assault rifles to the capital and a breath on each other. That’s what we do here. Yeah.

2

00:46:08
That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. It’s it’s scary. Cause you can’t, you can’t force people to do the right thing. You can’t force people to have a social conscience and if they don’t, if they don’t care about possibly infecting your grandfather or you or whatever, I don’t know how you, I don’t know how you change that and people, I, I don’t think you can shame them into it. I don’t, you know, I, it’s very difficult when you see all these. When I see old people, old people without masks and I’m like, you guys are the ones that if you’re over 75, your chances of dying.

2

00:46:41
If you get this or 10000%, that’s the number you are 10,000 times more likely to die from COVID if you were, or is that any by it? And I did get inspired with Shakespeare with all of these people that I thought of so many times we would work on crowd scenes and a mom and, and, and things like that. And I w I really wanted to work on, and I pulled it out to work on Marc Anthony, speech, friends, Romans, countrymen, but try to make it about changing the mind of the sort of anti mask, anti, you know, sort of like, I’m not here to, you know, braise democracy just to bury it, you know, sort of an, I don’t know, but I had this dream that I would be able to use the rhetoric and the rhetorical

1

00:47:30
Ability of that speech to somehow change completely sort of a mob mentality. That seems completely dictated just to the cult of personality. And I was going to use Shakespeare to do it. And then I just went for a swim, well, you’re training for that many triathlon. I mean, you got to get back into training, but it is, it is interesting how much of this feels, I don’t know if it is because of all the Shakespeare that we created or, or because of all of that we had to read, but it does seem tremendously like, Oh no, that’s where I know Kings did that.

1

00:48:17
You know, what are you saying? That is very much addictive now. And it’s so much I can do like, well, I can vote you a Shakespeare play. That is very, revelent a relevant to that right now, especially is very true.

0

00:48:34
Yeah. We’ve had practice at the end of the world, I guess you would say. Yeah. Well, I want to thank you all for being here. It’s just a delight to see all of you in one place. Again, I, so I was those of you who don’t know out their, in the, in, in, in whatever internet world, I was a student, I was a student most of the time that I, that I saw these people, Allie was just coming in as I was leaving as a student. And, and I think the first thing I was have been was a Henry four-part one where he played a false staff and maybe wrong about that.

0

00:49:09
But it was a, I was a student man. And then I worked with, with Rene and Sarah on ’em as you like it, Mac be the Tempest and the fellow 2006. Ah, and I still know every word of those plays because of their work really. I mean, like I like, and what, what I want to say is that, that like I’ve gone on and, you know, I teach now and I direct plays and, and produce here at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. And, and the thing that comes back to me all the time is like, I cannot think about any production that we would do ever if I’ve seen any of you and our other friends in it, it’s like, that’s the dream, that’s the thing is built on.

0

00:49:50
Does that make sense? Any time you touch a play again? I think that’s true for, for a lot of things, but it’s especially true about all of you. And so thank you. Thank you. Seriously. Take care of yourselves. Maybe we’ll do this again. We’ll shuffle the couch, Miriam. Your welcome to join us, Tim. Your welcome to join us. Thank you all.

1

00:50:16
Thank you. Thank you for inviting this time with these people that I love friends the next time.

9

00:50:28
Thanks.

6

00:50:34
You’ve been listening to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours. This podcast is made possible by our friend’s at the arts council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County and our fabulous monthly sustainers at patrion.com/sweet Tea Shakespeare. If you want to hang out with us in a future episode, drop us a line@hoursatsweetteashakespeare.com that’s H O U R s@sweetteashakespeare.com. Thanks again for listening to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours until next time you, that way

9

00:51:04
We, this way.

The Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours Lunch Hours | Unpacking the History Plays with Wiley Basho Gorn (rebroadcast)

This week for Lunch Hours, we have a rebroadcast of a fan favorite episode. Claire interviews Wiley Basho Gorn about the politics in Shakespeare’s plays,  the color- and gender-conscious future of classical storytelling, and  why the term “history play” is a misnomer. We’ll be back to you with fresh Lunch Hours episodes next week!

Wiley Basho Gorn: http://www.wileybashogorn.com/

Contact us at hours@sweetteashakespeare.com

Make a monthly, sustaining pledge on Patreon to support the work of  Sweet Tea Shakespeare and its artists. We are a 501(c)3 charitable  organization.

Sweet Tea Shakespeare: Patreon: patreon.com/sweetteashakes 

The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig.

Our Director of Engagement is Ashanti Bennett. Jen Pommerenke also assisted with this episode.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweetteashakes

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This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by  contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from  the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts  Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural  Resources.

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0

00:00:30
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2

00:01:06
Hello out there. I’m Claire Martin it’s lunchtime hear at Sweet Tea Shakespeare grab a bite to eat and settle in for the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Lunch Hours enjoy. Hey Wiley
0

00:01:21
Hi. It’s Claire hello?
2

00:01:24
I love it. So good to see you.
0

00:01:26
So you do that was a great little intro music. Is that, is that like a copyright as Sweet Tea thing?
2

00:01:31
Yup. Our incredible composer O and M he wrote that for us and then there’s a little infographic that Plays and its, its a jam. I always dance. Yeah.
0

00:01:40
I love that. That was very, that was a great way in
2

00:01:44
It’s also and it will also play us out. So it won’t be the last time you hear it. Thank you so much for joining us today.
0

00:01:54
Of course. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me
2

00:01:57
I’m so for anyone out there listening, thanks so much for being with us. My name is Claire Martin and I’m the assistant artistic director of Sweet Tea Shakespeare and I am just overjoyed to be joined today by my dear friend and colleague Wiley Gorn. So Wiley is a, he is a director, a dramaturg a text coach, a teaching artist and actor. He is, as we talked about in our cocktail hour, he is the, the, the full package, a multidisciplinary artist, a absolutely profound, a depth and breadth of knowledge when it comes to Shakespeare.
2

00:02:36
He specializes in heightened text and particularly in helping actors sort of connect emotionally to, to heightened text, which is such a powerful thing and so important in making Shakespeare sort of come alive for audiences and to really let the language like live in actors’ bodies. So I’ve known him for a couple of years now. I was fortunate enough to meet thanks. A brilliant mutual colleague Chevy Chung and yes, hello Chevy. We love you.
2

00:03:08
And Wiley a sort of Seattle based. So we’re close to each other in the Pacific Northwest and has worked with Seattle Shakespeare company with the upstart Crow collective, which is an all women and non-binary sh a classical theater company that’s based out of Seattle and the Oregon Shakespeare festival among other theaters. So today we’re going to chat, we’re gonna chat Shakespeare we are going to talk about text. We may even, we may even read some and mostly we are going to talk about sort of a shared passion that connects the two of us, which is Shakespeare is History Plays a, the genre that is perhaps kind of at least known in the common consciousness, but perhaps most applicable to the, the world in, especially the America that we’re living in today.
2

00:03:58
So yeah. Wiley thanks for, thanks for being here.
3

00:04:02
Yeah, this is, this is, this is great. That’s a great little setup, but we got, and I also just, I got to say, I really like the name Sweet Tea Shakespeare company. It’s really great. I went to school in North Carolina and I’m a big fan of Sweet Tea although its been a while since I’ve had what I would consider to be very like authentic North Carolina Sweet Tea it was always my roommate in school or are we would be, I remember one of the first times we met, I was at his place and he just had this huge picture in his, in his fridge that he was pouring from.
3

00:04:42
So I, yeah, that holds a very special place in my heart. So happy to be here.
2

00:04:47
I had forgotten, I had forgotten you went to undergrad in North Carolina.
3

00:04:51
I did, I did North Carolina school of VR it’s in Winston, Salem, North Carolina, home of the fighting pickles. That was our mascot. We were, yeah, we were very curious. Then you can look it up, fighting pickles. I am telling the truth. The mascot is a pickle that is wearing a, a Tutu that’s made at a piano keys and has a little mustache and a, a little goatee, a mask on a little floppy hat and uhm, in one hand it’s holding a, a, a film camera and then the other one is a paintbrush and its sort of got like a fencing position if we were the fighting pickles.
2

00:05:33
So what would we, would that be a Renaissance pickle?
3

00:05:37
I was a Renaissance pickle. When you were, were pickles of a thing. That’s got to be a thing in, in the Renaissance, right? Yeah.
2

00:05:46
I just think of everything is being pickled, including the people.
3

00:05:50
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. You really, at any form of water, you could probably pickle something then back then, but you had North Carolina is I hold a very, very special place in my heart of the that’s very connected to just to youth and creativity and yeah, it’s a good place and Sweet Tea reign Supreme.
2

00:06:18
Fantastic. Well we just, we just talked to Our with a friend of mine and Emily Garrison who is also had the Sweet Tea and I never have, and I was told that there is something very specific about the way it is. It is brewed and made its apparently I’ve taken very seriously.
3

00:06:35
There’s a simplicity to it that I really appreciate. It’s not too much it’s and like it can’t be too sweet it’s yeah. Right, right. I’ll be honest. I have no idea how to make it nor have I ever tried, but yeah, there’s a very, you gotta, you gotta be in the pocket with the Sweet Tea so it’s it’s special. It’s a real thing. Sweet team Cheerwine is another North Carolina thing I didn’t know about Cheerwine
2

00:07:02
Okay. Well I’m looking forward to experiencing all of these things. I’ll probably come in. I’ll probably tap you before I move and be like, what are all of the specific like cultural nuances I’m going to need to know it before I go there.
3

00:07:14
Are you going to be yet definitely asking someone whose not from North Carolina, what those cultural nuances are perfect now. Yeah, but but yeah. North Carolina, North Carolina school of the arts, how to a very foundational, I mean that was just where I think every artist can a trace to that, those, that watershed moment where you see a production are you get in a room with someone and the way that they approach the work kind of changes the way you experienced that you feel like you really grow as a, as a person and as an artist.
3

00:07:52
And I really associated a lot of North Carolina with that and all the residual growth that has happened in the seven, eight years since I left. I also think all of that is connected back to, to that institution and the, a, the groundwork they laid for for picking up new skills and developing new ideas and just a way to engage with the world.
2

00:08:21
That’s awesome. So do you have a watershed moment? And if so, what was it?
3

00:08:27
Well, I’ll never forget the first production that I ever saw at that school when I was just, I was 18 going down to visit, it was a production of Scapino this Italian comedy, but it was all done with red noses. It was, it was a red nose, clown Scapino and it was so it was so yeah, I just, didn’t never, I’d never experienced any show like that.
3

00:08:58
It was so specific to the world that it was in, it was in such a small little intimate space. It was so funny and it was just alive in a way that I was committed, unprepared for. Yeah. That was definitely the moment where I was like, Oh, this is the place I got to go. But then being there, I mean, it was The it was The the teachers that had amassed, the learning was a goal at that time through a lot of changes.
3

00:09:29
I really I’ve, I’ve been in touch with a few folks who are teachers, they are now, and it’s a really incredible institution. The climate, I got another call, sorry about that. This is what happens working off of fun. Yeah. But the, the, the app academic structure, the way they structured the education, it just really focused on it was all based on and our individual growth.
3

00:10:01
There’s a very clear progression to which point at which point in the training, do you start working on language at which point in the training? Okay. You started working on language met at which point do you start working on Shakespeare? There was a really, there was a great there’s just in the inherent growth, built into how they structured the work. So all the classes fed one into another and you realize that the way I throw a punch in stage combat is exactly the same as how I pursue an action in acting class or the like releasing myself in to some movement.
3

00:10:43
Improv is the same thing as the release of sound in a voice class. And that sort of collective understanding of, Oh my God, all these pieces are coming together in to this one thing. She is really a masterful way that the program was structured, but I’m still that I continue to discover and learn new things about my own education years out, which is very exciting. And that was definitely a, I mean, Shakespeare had always been a very big a part of my life and a big draw to theater, but that was the place where I really got to sort of sit down and be with the language and the Plays in a more, a structured way than I had before.
3

00:11:27
And that was really exciting. I think that shifted just my, a connection with the language, but also just where I, where I fit in on, on the chain of being within the spectrum of working with Shakespeare think we did a lot of great exercises about that. Elizabeth, then the cosmic of being everything, the entire universe is on this chain of being there is a love, there’s a wonderful exercise that we would do when we were all third.
3

00:12:03
You don’t work on Shakespeare really until your third year that’s when you spend this entire year developing this understanding and affinity for it that always begins with what do I personally connect to? And there’s a great exercise we did with our monologues were each assigned to different monologue and a knowing our characters and knowing givens are a teacher had us line up and place ourselves on the great chain of being as to where we believed we were.
3

00:12:34
So if you were a King, you are definitely at this part of the line, it may be you’re a Lord. And it looked goes to all the way down the line. And of course, if you’re a bastard, she was like, okay, go stand outside the room. That’s where you are up is great. And it was great. It was just a wonderful, a physical, visual representation of, of the, the impact of these, of these stories. Not just one of them. Yeah. That’s fantastic. So who were you, what was your monologue?
3

00:13:04
My monologue was from Richard. The second let’s talk of graves’ of worms and appetites. Yeah. Yeah. I, that was, that was my, and I was my first, I think I had seen Richard the second once or twice previously, but that was the first time I got, I spent some time with that play and that character and a completely acknowledged that I have no idea what that was at 21 or something working in that, but I tried to use my own personal experience to connect to it.
3

00:13:38
And I really, I love that speech very much. I love the, I love the, yeah, it’s so beautiful. And I love the, you know, that’s another speech that has great Natural stage directions of a, if you look on like, Oh, what can I, as an actor gain from the text, you look at what they are saying. Let’s set upon the ground, cover your heads. Yeah. Yeah. But I worked on Richard the second and that was in our voice class.
3

00:14:09
They, all of the Shakespeare work, went hand in hand with our voice work. So it, for a while now Shakespeare has been very connected in a, to two voice work for me. And when I say voice work, I mean self expression, because I do think that is what voice work is. I think the work that we do on our voices contributes to us being a more expansive and better people, as opposed to just better actors.
3

00:14:43
And, and that, that Shakespeare could be a tool for my own growth. And discovery was a really exciting thing to discover and something that I’ve tried just to keep alive in, in every time I work on one of those Plays
2

00:14:59
That’s marvelous. Well, I had this question for sort of saved tucked away for later in the conversation, but since you were sort of guiding us there already, I’ll ask right now. I mean, what, what roles in, in the works are you particularly drawn to whether it’s as an actor, dramaturg text coach director, or some combination of those, like what roles really draw you in
3

00:15:24
For sure. Absolutely. Ah, Rosalyn has always been a really, a really big draw for me, partially because so much of her work is in prose and there’s like, there’s sort of a free form, chaotic energy with Prolia is that I really, really love and yeah.
3

00:16:02
Yeah. Rosalind and I’d say Roslyn was also definitely like an early Shakespeare crush of mine, for sure. Yeah. Rosalyn just a, has always had a big impact on me specifically because of the, because of the melancholy in nature, because he, because he, he feels so out on it he’s integral, but he also feels very outside of that, the whole story within 12th night.
3

00:16:40
Yeah. And, and also that’s just, that’s my favorite of the place for sure. Yeah. And there’s a lot of characters in 12th night that I absolutely loved and I, okay. So director, text dramaturgy, there are certain scenes that I find myself very wrong to and connected with. And one, one, five in 12th night is definitely one of them. It’s where we first meet the Lithia.
3

00:17:11
We first meet the Fest day. Yeah, yeah. That whole, that whole exchange, helping someone through grief and really speaking about grief and trauma and what it means to, to let that go or not let that go, but just like what it means to live with it. There’s, there’s a lot of, ’em, there’s a lot of language around acceptance and a, and the duality of life and that, you know, the suffering and joy can go hand in hand. And then I’m the shift over from that into the Olivia Viola encounter, which is just one of my favorites, textually.
3

00:17:51
I love when characters shift between verse and prose or prose to verse. Yeah. I think that tells us a lot about the moment. And I love also that there’s no fast, there is no hard and set rule about that. Right. Is it specific to each circumstance, each character in each play, why they might shift like that? I would let a little workshop on, on Unpacking pros. And one of the first things I came up against, it was like, you know, as soon as you set rules, you got to throw them out the window.
3

00:18:24
But so yeah, that is, that scene definitely textually the way it shifts from verse to pro’s, you know, its so interesting. I really don’t consider myself to be an actor with a lot of the stuff. And so when you said, you know, what draws you as an actor? I don’t, I don’t really, I don’t know. No. I mean lately Midsummer has been on my mind a lot and, and in mid-summer a, the mechanicals in bottom, I absolutely love that park in that journey.
3

00:18:57
More, a lot more pros. Yeah. A lot of pros and, and like this and there’s like, there’s, there’s something very, you know, naturalistic about the crows also. And I’m, I’m so curious at the productions of Midsummer that I see again, when the actors are really able to bring themselves, cause especially with the mechanicals, we are talking about things that for artists and theater people are, it’s very easy for us to connect the dots and go, Oh my gosh, that’s just like me.
3

00:19:32
So I’m always so excited when I see a company really relax into the similarities as opposed to try and force it and find the bits. Yeah. Yeah. Other other ones I’ve been having a great time looking over Richard, the second that’s the most recent play that I’ve been taking a look at, which I know you love so much. It’s they’re the, his language and articulation throughout is really exciting to look at, especially as the play goes on.
3

00:20:10
Right. He’s he something cracks open as it goes on. That’s been a really, really cool. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Gosh. So, and then Hamlet is always going to have some draw because there’s a, an actor that is an actor writer that I’ve been working with for a few years now on, we’ve been crafting an adaptation, a pamphlet that is reflective of their life story as, so my mind’s been very much in that uhm, as a, as a, as the, with the, like the director dramaturge brain on of, okay, what’s going on and that story and what’s going on in the story that we’re trying to tell, where do those to meet you?
3

00:21:00
Where do they overlap? Where does one overtake the other? That’s a, that’s something, the, the idea of like ourselves overtaking Shakespeare is something I’ve been really interested in is when, when the, the language in the story becomes a vehicle, truly for the humans telling it when we can win, we can a C and D and be aware of the work that’s going on behind the story that we think we came to see if that makes sense.
3

00:21:30
There’s there’s just, yeah. Yeah. Anytime we do any time we do these Plays anytime we are talking about Shakespeare I think on some level we’re always really talking about ourselves and I’d like seeing the self come through in the little moments, which is it folds back into the, the, the voice work. That’s why I think Shakespeare is such a great tool to utilize when you’re doing voice work because of the level, because the level of articulation, the level of emotional articulation and emotional nuance, then you can find simply in the sound of some of those words is a great thing to be able to release feelings and emotions onto that.
3

00:22:14
We may not have words for, I may not be able to fully articulate myself in my feelings, but if I’m given a little, a little bit of a Romeo to go with then, Oh my God, that’s exactly what it feels like for me, which is, which is very exciting. So yeah,
2

00:22:37
All of that, and I, I, I know from experience with someone who struggles with emotional vulnerability and like struggles to open up to people and struggle is to trust people. I have found salvation in so much of Shakespeare because I feel like it, it puts words on the emotions that I don’t want to touch with my own words or a lot like, ay, the things that I can’t articulate, it gives me a way to convey those feelings. I’m in almost, almost in as almost an, a safe environment.
2

00:23:08
Like it’s almost like the words, his words create a, a safe conduit for me to channel of emotion through. And I think that’s a very personal version of what we think, what we think of a theater doing for us. Like sociopolitically right. Like a theater is a safe place, a safe conduit for us to ask really scary questions and, and challenge existing paradigms.
2

00:23:38
But it’s like, it’s like a safe environment to do it in. And I feel like Shakespeare is language is like a environment for me to release really, really deep, deeply felt emotions.
3

00:23:52
Hmm. Yeah. I love that. I love the image of a conduit. I always think of it like a river bed that has no, that has no water in it. And you are the water. The actors are the water and the performance is the water. And its got a set of course that its going to go on and that’s the story, that’s the language. Yeah. But how do you feel it is totally up to you, right? You may, one day it may be Rapids and you just blow through the whole thing or it might be the, you know, the big lazy river, these like slow still deep, deep waters.
3

00:24:30
But yeah, it’s, it is, it is a channel. It is, it is a conduit and I’d go, I’d go so far as to say that any form of heightened texts has the potential to do that. And I’m always interested with Shakespeare. It’s like what if, if Shakespeare especially is becomes a bit of a doorway to find other writer it’s to do that same thing for us. I think, I think that can be a great opportunity to continue to, to learn more about the world and the people who are are writing Plays in a heightened text that are out there right now.
2

00:25:08
Hello, are you enjoying the episode so far, then you should consider joining the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Patrion community. As we gear up for another exciting season of shows, concerts and events, we are issuing a challenge to boost our monthly Patrion sustainer giving for a pledge of as little as $5 a month. You can ensure that Sweet Tea Shakespeare can continue making delightful content all year round. You can also buy a season ticket that will grant you access to all of our exclusive Patrion content along with reserved seats to every one of our performances.
2

00:25:40
For more information on season tickets, check out our website@sweetteashakespeare.com to join our Patrion community. You can find this at patreon.com/sweet Tea Shakespeare it Shakespeare was my gateway to restoration drama and restoration comedy is actually where my heart lives actually like I don’t I’ve read a lot of Shakespeare is contemporaries, but I don’t, I don’t connect to them.
3

00:26:03
That’s not. Yeah.
2

00:26:06
Like I love Dutchess of Ralphie. I love Edward the second for the most part, I can’t, I appreciate them as, as literary works. I appreciate the poetry of much of Shakespeare is contemporaries. I don’t find the stories are the characters. I’m a three dimensional or engaging enough for me to care about them on an, on an artistic, like a practice level. Umm, but with restoration drama, what I love about it is that you have characters who are, who are using language as like pepper spray to keep people at arms distance because they are so afraid of anyone finding out that they have emotions.
2

00:26:40
And that really resonates with me. And so it’s like, it’s like taking the principle of Beatrice and Benedick and their sparring and its making entire Plays about it. But it is, it is still heightened text. It may not be verse, but it is still for the most part hight, you know, very heightened, very stylistic. And yet I think that in every restoration comedy, there comes a moment when you hear the, the, the scared little kids underneath these elegant courtiers, these to be scared, kids whose parents were cruel to them going, please don’t hurt me.
2

00:27:16
Please, please, please don’t hurt me. I’m scared. I’m a yeah, but that there are people doing beautiful, you know, poetical, heightened language Plays today as well. I mean, Naomi is lucky. For instance, I read her anonymous and I was like, this is like liquid silver. This is you.
3

00:27:39
Absolutely.
2

00:27:40
And to speak it, I think would, would carry an actor to the, to the verge of sort of immuno a full emotional surrender in a way that Shakespeare kind of invites us to. And I dunno about you, but I know sometimes when I speak is his text, I find that emotions, I didn’t even know were bubbling end up rising to the surface. When I played, when I played Isabella in measure for measure, I remember one day in rehearsal, I got to her, I got to her monologue to Angelo and to, to a, like the one about JoVE I’m not gonna be able to do it off the cuff right now, but great men thunder is drove himself, does drove, would near be quiet that one.
2

00:28:22
And I reached the fever pitch at that monologue, which comes like 12 lines in. And I felt like myself started to cry. And it was just because I was sensing her fervor, her zeal. So, so fully and her sort of commitment to God and her love of grace and her love of mercy. So deeply that it was like, it was like bringing me the actor to tears because the language was like, Sweet like sweeping me they’re you know?
3

00:28:49
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think, you know, everyone really letting yourself be swept away in that. It shows that you’re meeting, you’re meeting the language halfway, right? It’s not doing all the work for you. You’re coming to the table with what you have your whole open body spirit, emotional being, and the language picks you up and carries you the rest of the way. And one of Aria, I think one of the things about working with Shakespeare is that the character’s in those worlds and those Plays, their, their speech is their thoughts.
3

00:29:34
There’s so little have a filter. It’s just, I think I feel I speak and I, I think that its great that nowadays we edit ourselves a little bit. I think it’s important. I think its helpful to have, well, you know, maybe I shouldn’t say the first thing that comes into my head, but everyone deserves to be in a space where they can see what that feels like and, and working, working on the Plays working on that language is just such a great way to connect to that.
3

00:30:10
And you don’t have to be an actor to do that. No, its just a personal, that’s just a personal thing. Yeah.
2

00:30:15
I mean Joe Romeo, Romeo and Juliet as characters get a lot of flack for being dumb kids, but you know what speaking from experience, it takes a lot of courage to tell some when you love them like that, that takes guts and bless those young people for just doing it fearlessly and boldly and with absolutely no guarantee that it’s going to be reciprocated. They just say it. And like there is courage in that, that I would, I would take over the courage of entire armies, you know?
3

00:30:50
Yeah, yeah.
2

00:30:53
So we’re at about the halfway Mark. So I just want to take a moment to thank some of the people who have enabled us to have this wonderful conversation today. So a big shout out and thank you to the Arts council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County thank you for investing in Sweet Tea Shakespeare and in the arts communities of North Carolina, we’re so grateful to you for supporting us and for enabling us to do this really exciting virtual work that allows us to connect with wonderful artists from all over the country and even outside the country and to just keep having conversations that make us feel connected and enriched even during this time of quarantine.
2

00:31:29
So thank you so so much for, for allowing us to do this work. And then I also just want to say a big thank you to artistic director, Jeremy Fiebig and Our General Manager is Ashanti Bennett who do more work than is conceivable to the human brain. Thank you so much for who are investing in me and for supporting me and, and for sort of helping you create this, the series of podcasts so that I can so that I can have wonderful conversations like this one with Wiley and very appreciative.
2

00:32:00
So Wiley I, I want to talk about Richard the second.
3

00:32:05
Yeah, it did this, that and let’s f**k it. Like all the histories.
2

00:32:09
I mean, you know, like Richard This I leverage her the second very, very deeply, but it’s my least favorite of a Henry at the time. I don’t get fully invested until how it shows up. So its, you know, for all the love I have of Richard the second it’s it doesn’t even measure up to what I feel about one or two week four on each five. But I know that you and I are both in the we’re in the pre-gaming mode for Richard the second for various productions. So I’d love to hear about the one that you have coming up, the circumstances of that show and, and what this
3

00:32:40
Dramaturgical period is like for you. Yeah, sure. So I work with the company called upstart Crow collective. That is a, a committed to performing classical texts with a diverse female and non-binary casts. And I’ve been working with them for the last four years or so obviously not in an acting capacity at all. No, I’ve I’ve been job dramaturg I think three or four shows I assistant directed another and yeah, their work just speaks to me immensely.
3

00:33:19
And how do I understand Shakespeare and I think their work moves the conversation around those place forward specifically around the accessibility and representation that, that I is always worked for on those stages. The, yeah. Yeah. So my, my experience with the History primarily have all been through working on them with caste of women in a non binary folks and me being the minority in the roof, which is another fascinating experience.
3

00:34:00
Yeah.
4

00:34:01
And so it’s really,
3

00:34:04
It’s really interesting cause like the work of upstart Crow is, is one thing. And then the work that we were just doing on this workshop are virtual for a second felt part of it, but also completely different. Cause we’re trying to conceive how to do Richard the second for it in a time of physical distance, right. Is there a way that this lives online on screens is streamed in some way?
3

00:34:37
And I can’t, I can’t speak a whole lot to a, any decisions that were made because the workshop was very much just an exploratory one. We talked about a lot of themes and what, what, what themes of this play speak to our current political social economic experience? And one of the things that I really appreciated about working with upstart Crow, specifically, those artists that really run the company are a roasted Josee.
3

00:35:12
Kate was new ski and Betsy Schwartz. One of the things that I learned from them is that when you’re talking about History, Plays, they’re really, they’re not History Plays their political war Plays they were about politics and war. Those are things that are, those are universal experiences. And immediately shifting that perspective of, Oh, this isn’t a history play. This is about politics. And more this be happening right now immediately shifted. It shifted the focus out of, Oh, this is something that happened to other people a long time ago to, Oh this is actually, this is happening right now.
3

00:35:49
And, and I think it’s, that’s true as well for Shakespeare is audiences. Right? Cause he is, of course he never, he is very smart about not writing about the Elizabethan politics. I think like there’s only like there’s one overt reference to, to Essex, right. And, and Henry five. But other than that, he keeps a buffer zone of either it’s either, you know, if its in England, its at least
2

00:36:19
A hundred years yeah.
3

00:36:21
At least a hundred years or its like it’s made up land it’s in the Leary, a Lawrence and or, or the Roman empire it’s in Italy, it’s in France, it’s in the Roman empire, its something, it’s all of these great oblique angles that he’s able to focus in on and tell a story. I was reading some talking to you,
2

00:36:44
Have you been reading Stephen Green? Cause that’s what I’m going in my head.
3

00:36:48
That’s exactly who I was reading. Now we talked about that. There was some, a proclamation of like you can’t depict or imagine the deposition and that, that phrasing means that the authorities could really pick and choose what they saw to be suspicious. So I, I think it in a similar way, he, he is, he is doing the same thing of using something from the past to illustrate what is going on right now.
3

00:37:20
So yeah, a lot of our conversations around Richard, the second is how, how is, how is this play reflective of us in this moment? Now when we worked on the goal that upstart Crow has in this I can say is the goal we have is to workup to a place where we can perform the entire history of cycle all the way through a set company of actors and take it to DC and set up a tent, the a on a national mall right in front of the white house and perform it there.
3

00:38:02
So that’s the goal
2

00:38:05
When you have to get roasted and let me in, even if I’m just like, I’ll just, I’ll just like carry yourself. I’ll carry props. I don’t be there. Just show up.
3

00:38:16
And that’s, that’s what I listen. The way, the way I started working with upstart Crow is I had heard that this director roasted Josie in Seattle was a, this is in 2016 that I reached out to her and I heard that in 2017, she was going to be putting off a production called bring down the house, which was a two part of the Henry, the sixth trilogy and a, it was going to be performed with a cast, all female cast. And I was very excited about this. We met for coffee, what a great time and great time connecting.
3

00:38:48
And they said, you know, I really, I, I, I hear that you do not have an assistant on this yet. I would love to work with you. And she said, well, to be honest, I am looking for a young woman to assist me. So give me two weeks. I’m going to make some calls. And on the off chance that I cannot find anyone you are at the top of my young white male list. So she, she was true to her words. She made calls on the reason why she couldn’t find a female assistant is cause all the people she asked were already directing something.
3

00:39:23
They already have jobs. So yeah, for me, it was a real, it’s a real win for the white guys, you know, but that is that Austrade in my experience with those shows, bring that in the house, the Henry of the six is I believe that was actually the first history play that I had ever worked on. I don’t, I hadn’t worked on any other history of Plays. So my whole view of the world of these Plays from like being, you know, I’d seen other histories before, but from working within them, it was always in a room full of women and non-binary folks, which is which, you know, it’s, it was, and it’s given me a really different perspective on a lot of the themes that ha that, that come to those places, especially like this whole question of divine rights, right.
3

00:40:19
To rule that is my, is my destiny in my rights to play this part. This part was written for me. I is, I is my time to play this part versus I’m going to take it. I’m going to take the crown right now. I’ve spent too many years being wrong. And so I’m going to change it. I’m going to write my own destiny. And there’s something just very rebellious that I found just being in these rooms and experiencing it with those bodies and those voices up on stage, telling those stories, all of that, to say, tying it back to Richard.
3

00:40:58
The second, when we were working on Richard, the third a, which of course is at the end of the cycle, the central phrase or question the whole, the central, the whole production is built on is we are all Richard. We are all Richard. We all possess that same possibility, but also we are all complicit in creating this person.
3

00:41:30
Our, our production was a production very much. It took its cue from a lot of what Greenblatt talks about and a tyrant of all the enablers, all the different enablers, the way you get to power. So we had this, we had the central phrase, if we are all Richard, and now going back to Richard, the second we have a similar phrase of it’s it’s like Richard is in all of us or we all reflect Richard. And a lot of the conversation we’ve been talking about is the way that Richard Richard’s journey is a journey of self discovery.
3

00:42:07
And so much of his world is everything that’s reflected back to him. A lot of talk about mirrors, mirror images, all of the behavior that he does, that’s reflected back to him. And that when he actually breaks that mirror is when there’s a real shift in his character of finding this, this, yeah. This truer self that that is beneath the, the title and the exterior and the clothes on the crown, which I think runs that runs through almost all the History of Plays.
3

00:42:42
Right. This is a question of a King. Yeah. A King.
2

00:42:48
Well, and how’s, how’s singular soliloquy in Henry five. The one time he is by himself. I know. Trust me. We, can you talk about that speech all day, but what he’s booked his thing is its it’s the same recognition is Richard’s except it for him. He’s saying I’ve known this all along because I wasn’t born to be the Prince. I wasn’t born to be the King. So I know better than anyone that it’s the objects that we’re seeing. That’s what they see the glamour, they see the, the, the giftedness of my life.
2

00:43:20
But I know that I’m just an idiot. I know that I’m just a human person who is messy because that’s who I was before. These things were dumped on me by my father. Right? Like he, and so what he says is like, these objects are arbitrary and I know this, but I have to pretend that they’re not because I have to make it authentic to the people looking at me. And for Richard, he comes the opposite way. He thinks these things are intrinsic to him and then he realizes they’re not. But the salvation of his story is like, but we I’m still a person underneath.
2

00:43:51
I’m still my God. There’s a person
3

00:43:54
I can. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I love that. That word ceremony in that big speech, you know what of King’s the privates have not two save ceremony, say Sarah, and what are you? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What are you, what are you, Sarah? I love the way that Shakespeare investigates a single word. I’m thinking about ceremony in that speech. I think about commodity in the bastards speech.
3

00:44:26
I’m in King and King John. Yeah. And then of course I think about honor in false staff have a chasm about what his, what his honor, what’s the, what’s the word is it’s a word. Yeah, man. Those little moments of humanity that pop through, especially in the History Plays those are what get me like Hotspur meeting with all his, with all of these boys, just like, Ooh, we are going to do this rebellion and they forgot the map. Like, ah, damn it.
3

00:44:57
I forgot the map. I that’s just, that’s so funny and human and how, how could that be? History that’s happening right now? So yeah. I mean, there’s, dramaturgically, it’s an interesting question of, Oh, there we go.
2

00:45:14
It was an adventure.
3

00:45:15
That was a, that was a total adventure dramaturgically there is an interesting, a question of how much of a, of the, of the work of all of the, the history and knowledge feeds into this story that we’re telling right now, this question came up in Richard the second, the whole question of Gloucester’s depths, this initial conflict. Yeah. That we don’t see.
3

00:45:46
And I was just learning, there’s a play called Woodstock. That’s by an anonymous author. That’s like <inaudible> to fix that is fascinating, but we don’t see it. And we only, especially, I think anytime you’re watching this, Shakespeare, especially if you’re not as familiar with a story, two scenes, 15 minutes or two scenes, it takes for you to actually start understanding the language. So, you know,
2

00:46:12
He’s like, he’s like 15 minutes in and he’s like, if I don’t understand it, 15 minutes in, I’m not gonna understand anything that happens.
3

00:46:18
Exactly. And which means like to top load. And I think about the beginnings of Sony of these Plays are really all about setting up the X position of this is what’s going on in this world. And that whole Gloucester’s death kind of stays up the periphery of the action, but that’s always a constant question. Cause as soon as Bolingbrook has gone into power, he immediately opens up another investigation into let’s talk about that.
3

00:46:49
But we were talking about like, how important is it? Obviously the actors need to know the givens, but like how important is it that the audience follows us? What is an audience’s understanding of what this conflict is and how can we help them towards the story we’re telling versus filling in History that? And Elizabeth and audience would know about the past. It’s a, it’s such a fascinating Mount, which, which goes to say like, again, it’s all about bringing these Plays to us now.
3

00:47:23
It’s it’s feeling that dramaturgically yes, it was written in 1550. They’re like, well, you know, 15, 15, seven, 1590 for the written in 1594 set in 1399. Right. And we’re performing it in 2020 where those are, those are three very different timelines. What’s the intersection between those three timelines that we can make a story that really the ground’s the audience in the world and, and takes them on this journey with us.
3

00:48:01
And I think that’s it’s, and it’s always, you’re always working with those timelines when you are working on Shakespeare. But especially with the History, it’s always what’s relevant to us now. And I know one of the things that Rose has talked a lot about is as, as a director, she’s always asking, what does leadership look like? What do we want from leadership? What do we get from leadership? What are we willing to forgive? And what are the things that we will never forget?
2

00:48:31
Yeah. And what, what, and where’s the disparity between what they promised in what they deliver, which is something we talked, I heard, I heard that, that talked about a lot in the rooms at the Oregon Shakespeare festival for bringing down the house. There was this question of like, what are these characters? What are these Lords jockeying for power jockeying for the throne saying that they’re going to do for the people and what are they actually doing? And the Gulf between those things is just like potently relevant today.
3

00:49:04
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I also think, I especially feel that today in our, in our current political movement of like the, the, the people, our voice has the power and impact it should. And I feel like there’s a possibility that it can. I mean, I was thinking about the elections that just happened this past Tuesday and specifically about like, are the ones that I was really focused on was in New York and Kentucky.
3

00:49:39
And I mean, specifically with that Kentucky one that the national, I shifted on two, a primary election in this state, that’s a pretty deeply read, but suddenly there was this intense search for everyone looking to see what happened and connecting and back to these Plays, I mean, we’re in a world where divine right, is sort of a given of the land, but within that, there’s all these questions and, and challenges coming from upstarts all over the place.
3

00:50:20
And that there’s there. There’s, there’s always a potential, the, the for leadership a can be found anywhere. And, and then on, on the darker side, it’s, it’s when that, that potential for change completely shifts to being for personal gain. I’m specifically thinking about the, a, about Henry six and not a whole trilogy, right?
3

00:50:51
These political, the political terms of personal, you use politics as a personal vehicle to get two to further my own. And when that happens, then the country is the one that suffers. Yeah.
2

00:51:08
Do you love Sweet Tea Shakespeare do you believe in the mission of our company, then you should consider becoming a board member. If you’re interested in learning more, please email us@gmatsweetteashakespeare.com that’s G as in general, M as a manager@sweetteashakespeare.com. And I think Shakespeare was pretty clear sighted about that.
2

00:51:38
I mean, it’s not, that is Plays are often quite ambiguous, including the History Plays. And as you say, he’s very clever about deflecting the implications off of his present moment for reasons of self preservation, obviously. But, but I think that he, I don’t think he glorifies any of his power hungry, like tyrants. That’s what’s really interesting. Now the characters in the Plays often do, and if in the case of Richard, the second, he often does it about himself.
2

00:52:13