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Lunch Hours | Shakespeare and Adaptation

Assistant Artistic Director, Claire F. Martin, interviews Dr. Sara Freeman about late 20th century receptions of Shakespeare, European Renaissance theater, and the ongoing social poignancy of classical plays.

Learn more about our guest at https://www.pugetsound.edu/faculty-pages/sfreeman/ 

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.

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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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00:01:01
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 Sara hello. Welcome. Thanks for joining us today. Very happy to do so. Hours happy to have you. So I wanted to, actually, I meant to apologize before we started the podcast. We always do people’s first names and I didn’t really check that with you.
1

00:01:32
So it should say her full title is Dr. Sara Freeman. She is a doctor, but for the sake of our podcast, for the sake of our podcast, I’ll be calling her Sarah and she just gets four letters at the, at the bottom of her image. So this is actually like for Sara. And for me, this is an interview we’ve very much been looking forward to Sara was my professor at the university of Puget sound, where I went to undergrad. And during that time she was also my director and collaborator and mentor.
1

00:02:03
And for anyone, whoever had a really sort of special mentor, especially in those college years, you’ll know that sometimes that professor’s office becomes like your sanctuary and you have some of the most important conversations of your life in like the tiny, tiny four walls, but they work in. And that is certainly how I feel about Sara. She’s a huge inspiration to me. And we have, we have like, I mean, we’ve made it up to Canada together. We went to the literary managers and dramaturgs of the America’s conference in Toronto together in is that 2018.
1

00:02:38
She came and saw the show that I was working on in New York, which was amazing. And we also, I don’t know if you know the survey, it was exactly a year ago that we connected in London. It was literally a year ago today we went and saw the winters blanche blanche, the winter’s tale at the globe, and just had dinner and got gigantic glasses of wine. And just like, just talked about London and theater. Basically, you sort of helped orient me in that City right in the beginning of my masters.
1

00:03:08
So we have a lot of shared history and just one of my favorite people. So a Sara like just thank you for spending time with Sweet Tea today
2

00:03:17
Was that a year ago was that two years ago.
1

00:03:20
It was two years ago. My God, I’m sorry,
2

00:03:23
Because I feel like, I feel like it was London, New York, and we were planning for this year for something, but of course we have been cut short, so we’re, we’re having a virtual, a colloquy, but someday again in London or who knows where it will be producing things. Maybe I need to come to North Carolina, South Carolina. North
1

00:03:45
North Carolina. Yeah,
2

00:03:48
Totally. By the time
1

00:03:49
The visit meal I’ll have, I’ll have my sea legs a little bit and I’ll actually be able to like show you things and walk you around. But it was actually what was a year ago was we are right in the middle of the Parkland project, Romeo and Juliet, which we were pursing right next door to her office. So she is, she is a true Intrepid Saint in every sense of the word. And she is professor of theater arts at the university of Puget sound. And I think my first class with you was, did I take dramaturgy with you before anything else
2

00:04:24
Was a theater history and dramaturgy or dramaturgy in theater history? They were, they were right there
1

00:04:29
The same time it was made a living together, but that dramaturgy class is one of the best classes I’ve ever taken full stop. We did an entire semester and we read almost the full Canon of Carol Churchill. I’m a British, a British dramatist who are just like, like reinvented the wheel as far as I’m concerned in terms of theater, in terms of feminism, in terms of like British cultural commentary. And that was just, yeah, that semester was fantastic.
2

00:04:59
I love that. You said, you know, the candidate, Carol Churchill because of her, her works are, you know, Legion. I actually haven’t counted. So I don’t know if there’s more than 37 or less than 37, maybe of them are shorter than a Shakespeare. Right. But we did, we did sort of take that, like, let’s read everything in the way that sometimes you do with Shakespeare and let’s really understand them, this incredible body of work from a prodigious prodigious mind done in Venter.
2

00:05:30
You know,
1

00:05:31
How did you first kind of come to Carol Churchill as an art dealer?
2

00:05:37
Well, I I’ve actually been working on some writing from my sort of ongoing scholarly in the book projects, which to keep evolving, but there’s always, there’s going to be a chapter on Carol Churchill in it, no matter what it is. So I was just working on that and I, it was making me reflect that my encounter with Carol Churchill was doing my freshman year of college here at the university of Puget sound because I am an alum as well. I taught a bunch of other places, went, went on a long, a scholarly journey, a narcissistic journey, but have rejoined here.
2

00:06:12
But that year, which was academic year in 1991 92 in the spring, I’m the senior piece of shows because they were senior thesis shows. Then as now I’m, although they have a different name on a slightly different structure. Umm, one of the seniors SAIDI, McMaster who I’m friends with on Facebook and who just posted about this. When I said I was riding again about Carol Churchill, she directed to production of cloud nine. That is in my mind, like still sort of an early production of cloud nine.
2

00:06:46
And I wasn’t cast in that production cause we auditioned for all the senior shows at once and got cast in, in them, you know, as a sort of repertory season. And I was cast and a production of Barbara, the bows play a show in the middle, which is about two sisters who have been separated, but in their surviving of the Holocaust and then reunited. So I was cast in to Shane the middle. So I’d got to be in the audience for that cloud nine. And one of my very close friends was in it.
2

00:07:18
A lot of my friends we’re in it, but probably one of my very best friends was in it as well. And I just thought it was stunning. It was one of those theater experiences where I don’t care how, you know, minimal grotty are a little round is in like how much we were all sort of stretching to fill the distance between our imagination or actually it was a transformative experience and Sadie, you know, set on Facebook. She said, gosh, I wish I could go back and direct that now again with all the things I know, but I wanted to say like that was an extraordinary production.
2

00:07:49
That completely transformed things for me. Right. It made me see things and understand things and like it still feels quite imprinted in my consciousness. Right. So then so seeing it and learning to read that text because it presents, you know, certain complications in, in reading and what has been launched me into other rounds of reading Caryl, Churchill and other British Dramatists. And I just tracked Caryl Churchill from dead-on.
1

00:08:19
That’s amazing. I mean, just, just that your, just that your relationship with her as a playwright goes so far back. I think in my, in my mind maybe I was like, Oh, Sara wants to, you know, she wants to do a class on this and in for her undergrad students and it hadn’t occurred to me like, but Carol Churchill has been writing, producing for decades and yeah, it makes sense that, yeah, I think you have been, Hopefully we’ll get you back in just a second.
1

00:08:51
So, so Sara what I, what I like to do when these interviews is like sort of mentioned moments is the connection between me and the person that I’m interviewing so that any of our listeners and viewers can get a sense of like what our collaborations have been like. And I think that one of our sort of chief collaborations is a really great way to start in terms of contextualizing your body of research and kind of what your, what your take let’s say on, on the Shakespeare age is.
1

00:09:22
So I’m hoping we can talk a little bit about force of habit. I love that. That’s awesome. So the fall of my junior year, I auditioned for a show that I had never heard us. And that’s where, so they did make a student like a, or a force of habit as is in English. Umm, which is, is he in the Castro? Am I right? So, so this was a Spanish golden age.
1

00:09:56
So we are still we’re, you know, we’re right in the middle of the, the Renaissance we’re right in the early modern era, right at the top of the 17th century, but it was a play and a playwright that I was totally unfamiliar with and Sara had worked with a dramaturg and a translator to create this kind of original English Adaptation of the play ’em and the whole thing was like a gender bending joy. And so Sara, I would just love to hear you talk about like the process of finding that show decided to work on it and just like, what were your sort of artistic interests and priorities as you set off to direct it?
1

00:10:37
And I’m feeling sad that I can’t see you can’t see me. And that cuts off of my ability to be affirmative and responsive without also making sounds while you’re talking. But yeah. So I guess I would say that as a preference, my research specialty is in 20th century alternative theater of British political experimental theater, company’s feminist theater and contemporary in the writing, right? I’ve not a specialist in early modern period in English.
1

00:11:10
Renaissance write about 17th century as a, as a, as a researcher here in terms of publishing by a scholarship, but four for a person who directs at uni and the university as a theatre, as a teacher, if the history of history, there’s a couple of periods in theater history that, and of course I love modern food in England. Of course I loved Shakespeare. I also, I think by way of working on the alternative theaters and they had sort of contemporary playwrights in the 20th and 21st century need to think about the early modern period as a whole period with a ton of contemporary
2

00:11:54
Playwrights producing a ton of stuff. So I often like to think about Shakespeare his contemporaries as well as him, right. And just how many people there are, you know, putting out incredible amount of work during that period. I’m just to play writing boom as well as a theater building. So that is exciting to me. And then I also like to think a little bit about, you know, what are our alternatives to what we think of as is the notion or the mainstream and of course Shakespeare, or is it wasn’t a in his day has to be come to the us now.
2

00:12:30
And he was considered by everyone to be the only voice or the most important voice of the whole really rich ecosystem. Right. But for those of us looking back 400 coming up on five a hundred years, right. They can feel like Shakespeare is the only thing. So for me, it’s often fun just for myself and a students to say, like, let’s look at alternative pathways and I love the way that engaging with Spain and the Spanish traditions at that time, just really illuminates and throws into the relief part of the stuff in English tradition, because they are so many parallels, but there’s also these really interesting divergencies.
2

00:13:12
So when it came time to, it was, you know, sort of the Director world challenge I wanted. And the right moment in the theater department cycled to do an early modern play as like, what I wanted to do is manageable on each play. I’m in a, certainly could’ve directed to the Shakespeare text and get our blends on my list. They felt like it the right time. And I had gotten to know Kathleen Jeff’s dad at the university, there’s a translator of Spanish school in age plays, works at the RSC while she was doing her doctoral coursework at Oxford on their Spanish school, in the agencies than in 2005, 2006.
2

00:13:50
And I wrote her and said, I think I don’t want to do a Spanish name to play it. I think I’m going to do is the dream by Pedro call the run to Lavaca. And, and she said, I’m going to make a pitch to you about why you should do something different, like even more right. Alternative as to if you’re going to come to the golden age, that alternative. And is it part of what you’re interested is gender part of what you’re interested is in the right. A part of what you’re interested in is, you know, I don’t really want to use the phrase cross dressing exactly, but like the changing of clothes and the sort of invention, the invention and disguise of the self as you change close and cross, you know, Jen, she said, please take a look at this play by Ganda Castro, which she has translated.
2

00:14:41
And that gave me a chance to work really closely with her and then a student drama turd. And we did a whole sort of reworking and
1

00:14:52
Even intensely more intensely these questions about like, what does it mean to wear the clothes of a woman in your culture? What does it mean to be a man in the culture? What does it allow if you change those clothes? What is the force that is applied to make people comply with certain types of gender roles and identities? What is it? Habit is our habits, right? There’s some the things and we just went, had a great time doing this is hard.
1

00:15:31
Oh yeah. It was, it was like a fever dream. Like I don’t remember so much of it because it went so fast. We had so much ground to cover. I mean, at one point I like rewrote a Spanish or a lullaby. Like I had to like write music and also, and I speak French. I don’t speak a lick of Spanish. So getting the accent nightmare for me. And we learned, we learned traditional Spanish dancing for our sort of Haiti.
1

00:16:03
And my costume took me 30 minutes to put on and 30 minutes to take off. It had, I had seven different skirts. I had, I had, I had sleeves in three pieces that had to be like hand tied by people that weren’t me. I had a wig, I had a wig that weighed like side pounds. It was, it was just wild, like top the bottom. And I spent almost the entirety of the play on a balcony. So I was sort of like always looking down at the, the like dueling men down below.
1

00:16:38
I got very familiar with the tops of heads in that production. Is that, that generated a conversation between you and I, that sort of continues to this day about like where women are situated in relation to the action of story, right. And women at the women at the windows women like standing in the front door, women who are the cause of so much violence intention, but also are completely prohibited from engaging with it. And, and that was a really fascinating way.
1

00:17:10
That was a fascinating conversation for me. It totally cracked open in the way I thought about Shakespeare is heroines, especially the women in his tragedies who get so systematically shut out of a, the plot, basically a turn to the point that like, you know, sometimes it, sometimes they, they sell off in the late and the plot of the force of habit. I feel like we have to explain it in order to give our listeners a sense of just how gender bendy it is as a show is it is about the open.
1

00:17:45
The, like the, the first thing that happens in the play is a family is reunited after what is it? 15, 18 years of separations. The kids are, yeah, they have a boy and a girl. And because of sort of conflict in Spain, then the family was separated when the children were in, since the girl went with her father and the boys stayed with his mother and mother for the son’s safety has a raised him as a girl too, the point that this or that her child thinks that he’s a girl.
1

00:18:19
Umm, and the father who has been like sort of immersed in military life for his daughter’s safety has raised his daughter as a man in specifically is a soldier. So when family is where United, like the, the, the siblings who I’m using, I’m using she and he pronouns because that is what the play uses. But ultimately like who really knows. But the, the daughter thinks that she’s like, well of course I were paying it is of course I have a sort of course I challenged man in the street. I’m a boy. And the son is of course it’s of course it’s afraid of violence.
1

00:18:52
I’m a girl. And when the parents reconnect, they were like, Oh well now you have to switch. And the kids, the kids, he just says, now this, this is a question of the father and the patriarchal order, like the light or the, the shifting of things. I’m the potential of non binary identity, the potential of fluid identity. Like what does this Felix all the time? What do they feel is their true gender identity question, Mark.
1

00:19:26
They don’t actually ever get to fully voice that although they are at, I don’t know that the culture of the hat had a vocabulary for that. But the, that in a public review again in the family, the father is good. Everyone goes back to normal. I’m a normal in quotes, even though you can’t see me, right. I’m going to go back to normal and the children say, what are you talking about? Right. I like this, I’m fine. Now I’m getting off other, other outside pressure, other intensity and end as they navigate or what to do.
1

00:20:01
They fall in love. They’re not creating different spaces for others, young people, but also your changes, what the parents, they are doing it as they read a book. But also there’s some we really mind and some subjects and the play by the parents actually happened. How did they get to see each other when they were sticking around in their secret? And before they had to separate, did he disguise himself has a woman to get into the house, to be with her.
1

00:20:31
She describes herself as a man to be able to be with him. Because one of the things they say about the politic in her Maile, a tire is she looks just like her mother at that moment. And the play, certainly an artifact of its time is written to reinforce then the gender binary with the violence and, and, and pressure, even though there’s a happy ending, right? To reinstate that everyone then is how clearly male and female and the patriarchal, how the whole has been, has been fully assembled.
1

00:21:07
And everyone’s married in an appropriate way. That’s what we did and interpreted that. In fact, everyone rewrites their gender identity. And we had a happy ending in which everyone was wearing clothing. That was both, you know, male, traditionally male and traditionally female combinations of it. And we had sort of big golden white wedding. As I said to the costume designer, I said, our goal is to out as you like it, as in like it, so not just for weddings, but like we had to.
1

00:21:45
So I played, I played the love interest of the son and, and she heard he was laying her. And she was like, she was the woman at the window. She was the, she was the golden fleece have heard of her a little town. And she had all these mens revising for her Hans and then saying like the sons are, sees her and fall in love it’s umm, and to have this, to have her suitors, what I loved about our production was it, we just had him fall in love with each other.
1

00:22:15
So at the very end, one of the marriages was between these two male suitors for my character. And for her, she was like off of what a relief. I don’t have to worry about letting anybody down. Like you guys just marry each other and she sort of like, she kind of chaplains that, which was great. And then you had two female servants who are like school type characters, kind of like mischievous mischievous types and they married each other. So we had, we had all kinds of marriages and Louise who lady, brother and Felix married, but they’re both wearing skirts and that sort of alternative tracking through what early modern peace and enjoy the language part of the stage combat that he could enjoy the, the style, write a post, a text that was designed to be performed on a, an outdoor public theater right in what we wanted to do that.
1

00:23:29
Yes, he was an adventure from, from top to bottom.
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00:23:33
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00:24:06
For more information on season tickets, check out our website@sweetteashakespeare.com to join our Patriot in community. You can find this at patrion.com/sweet Tea Shakespeare thanks so much.
2

00:24:19
And so while we’re sort of, while we’re in are Renaissance groove, then a lot of, I would love for you to think about sort of how you have intersected with Shakespeare and like what interests you about Shakespeare and what kinds of like revisions and feminists twists on the cannon are kind of speaking to you. Yeah. So working on alternative theater history, working on theater companies and theater and a new writing, I, I there’s actually so much engagement with Shakespeare since the, since the late seventies onward there there’s this whole list of things that I have thought of talking about.
2

00:25:03
But I think that the, the, that I wanna talk about two examples a little bit, and certainly you should interject and ask questions. And I guess I just want to put the premise there that, that for the late 20th century, early 20th century, 21st century, like for writers, right. And for companies that there is, I wouldn’t say in a necessity of engaging with Shakespeare, they don’t feel like they, it’s not universal. Like it’s not every group or every writer that says I got to take this on and think my way through it.
2

00:25:37
But then it is, it is a pretty strong archetype right there, there may be a time at a need to engage with Shakespeare because that’s part of how we understand theater now. And that’s also how to say rewriting their way into the spaces you want. Right. Or rewriting the different myths. And that’s not right. Then we carry with us because of Shakespeare. So many people have bounced so much spaces in Shakespeare.
2

00:26:08
Right. But also there’s so much to struggle with. So I think, Mmm, this is not one of the examples I’ll do deep dive on. Right. But certainly the playwright they may say, is there a Francophone in play, right? Re roped the Tempest right road, a Tempest, as, as he thought about, you know, sort of deep colonial and liberation movements for African Caribbean colonized spaces, just the engagement, that’s the character of in post-colonial thinking and the theory has been massive.
2

00:26:50
So, so then for me, one of the The texts of, I guess I would say alternative to Shakespeare out of my research that I think is really cool to talk about. And notice is a place to call this islands. Mine. This Island is mine write, which is written by the British playwright full of mint for a theater company called gay sweatshop, which was the first openly gay and lesbian professional theater company in England founded in Sweet 74, 75 in the active until 19 nine and a little, a little faster.
2

00:27:30
And this, this show was a show. They did, it was red in draft form in 1987 at what they called their sort of gay sweat shop at times 12 theater festival, they were doing did a 10th anniversary and the 12th anniversary festival or the readings and developmental stuff at the drill hall and the oval house, which are two sites in England that were major venues, four alternative theater companies and the eighties and the drill hall has now part of the physical plant.
2

00:28:01
They took it over and its existence and the performance venue. And I’ve been to shows there and all of that. So Austin had this script, you know, in development at the gate that shot to shot sweatshop times 12, the festival. And then it premiered. It is when they toured it all over at 88. And that was as sort of Alaska last gasp of Margaret patters in England, there was a law passed that made it illegal, right to propagate, you know, sorta positive images of pretended family’s by which they meant, you know, family’s with a homosexual parents through the alternative family structures and a whole bunch of other things that were aimed at sort of making it hard for openly gay and lesbian artist to obtain funding and for material about AIDS and all sorts of other things related to gay liberation and, and changing gender norms and the sexuality to be taught in, in schools of any sorts.
2

00:29:14
So this play was really a rallying cry about against that vision of national identity. And they are no, actually this Island’s mind to it. And so in the play, there’s a character named Sullivan. Who’s a black British man. Who’s family is carrot Caribbean immigrants, probably if the wind rest generation, right. Who’s an actor who’s halibut in a, in a production during the course of the place of action, right?
2

00:29:48
And so you get moments of him speaking Dan’s line and you get through watching him in rehearsal and they are scenes where he’s talking to the director and having serious conflict with the director of the Shakespeare play, who keeps getting hit on the type of complicated feedback that actors of color sometimes get, which is sort of like putting to be more black. Oh no, you’re, you’re your blackness is this recording, this there’s this language.
2

00:30:20
So that is happening. It’s a really meditative fluid sort of storytelling, beautiful play where, you know, puts together and a house. Amanda Bradley of his generation of gay men whose nephew runs away to join him in London because his nephew is, is living in a small town and wants to come out as a gay man, but feels like he can’t in his parent’s house and is in that small town.
2

00:30:51
And he comes to, to live with his uncle Martin, who they are, and Martin helps him in that coming up answer to reflects onto their 20 years of being a liberation work is that 68 intertwined with cell and whose house meet a lover to, to, to them, right? Who’s rehearsing. This sounds of mine. And then they are upstairs neighbor. Who’s a woman who was a refugee to England during the Holocaust from Germany.
2

00:31:22
And who says multiple times, the course of the show, it’s starting to happen again, right? The time of discourse that allows you to section other people enough that you might exterminate them, its starting to happen again and, and really tying that, those games, operations movements though, the black liberation bits in the late eighties altogether, that’s a very beautiful place. And Shakespeare is there, I think Shakespeare was there because its part of saying part of a way of cleaning belonging to the British national project to say like no, no were not outside of This.
2

00:32:07
We are in it. It’s ours to this violence is our Shakespeare as far as maybe more hours than yours. If you think about that way more and more, a complex way. That’s a beautiful, and I don’t know if you’ve ever read about, I’m not familiar with, I’m not familiar that at all. I read, I read the first few scenes cause I knew we were going to be talking about it today, but I don’t, I’m not familiar with, I’m not familiar with the text or the playwrights.
2

00:32:38
I actually am not that familiar
1

00:32:40
With base sweatshop. The, the majority of my knowledge about them comes from youth. It’s it’s not something I personally researched, but I, what was striking to me in, in researching that play and reading the first couple of seeds in three, talk about it just now is like how intersectional it is. Yeah. That to me currently like has to be the future of Shakespeare has to be intersectionality in accessibility and plays like that are like brilliant ways of like cracking open the text mining.
1

00:33:11
What is meaningful to this Cultural moment, for instance, Kaliban in the process of playing a portraying Taliban in a predominantly like an oppressively white culture. But also you have like, you have the, the marginalization in the, you know, the sort of atrocities of the Holocaust you’ve got like in a woman’s narrative write about escaping that you’ve got The like, is this sort of like the racial dynamics out of England during this, you know, this moment of like severe political friction, you have the, you know, like the gay liberation story, like there’s just so many different threads that are like coming together with sort of very fused central characters.
1

00:33:57
It finds a way to like tackle a lot of issues right in the mosaic. Beautiful, beautiful. A composite like a group of protagonists. Alright. And, and they’re is, there’s a generational story because of the Martin and his, his nephew, which I think is their and Miranda and the MP there’s also Martin had had a wife, right.
1

00:34:28
They sorta, they made a, a, a marriage of convenience, right. Her story on her, a female lover in their, her relationships with her father has a great deal of money and like those coercions right. So that there’s aspects of prosper on Miranda that come through things to do. As people see, to ask themselves, like how do we reinvent the structures we live in for? Like, what does it mean to, of been the man with power in the robe, the book and the lady down and make something new?
1

00:35:00
What is it mean to find them? The brave new world is not a dystopia, but maybe something else, maybe a reinvented Island, it’s a protest plait in the moment of that factor. You know, policy play at the opportunity. So a year ago when I was in England, even though that’s not, that’s not what I’m going to be solid winter’s tale. I got to see the first reliable of silence mindset, 88 years, pretty much 31 at the King’s head, which is the main, another alternative space, a little theater up in angel Jen right.
1

00:35:44
Like quite venerated, venerable and federated, but still like not rich or wealthy, but just that’s right. You know, with this beautiful really, I would almost call it sort of production of the silence. I was so happy to be there. There was a panel discussion of gay sweatshop. It was just so interesting to see it. Period. I was teaching in the late nineties, early two thousands when I didn’t didn’t think I would use quite as much.
1

00:36:17
Now it’s sort of back on my mind, maybe a place to do in the next three to five years. Cause we’re going to have to figure out how to be hopeful again, after I now through in the last four or five years and it has this brilliantly intersectional place. So that’s, that’s quite a lovely one and a little bit of it laid out. Definitely. I definitely need to read the rest. So the one that I, that I am familiar with, it’s the other one that I hope you’re gonna talk about.
1

00:36:48
They use daughters. Umm, that is in part because Lear is like, I’m not big on the tragedies. I struggle with a lot of them, but I freaking love King lyrics. I love what a disaster it is. I love, I love that you can’t really do it like you can’t like it’s four and a half hours long and parts still make any sense. It’s it’s just, it’s an atrocity and I love it. The whole thing, the whole thing, like it’s like an, its like a, like a nuclear wasteland that light.
1

00:37:25
But I, but I absolutely love it. And I saw the ears daughters, which is, as I hope you’re going to talk about eight kind of like radical reimagining of The the lives of the three daughters in the years leading up to the events of King Lear it kind of functions is a free call, but it also interrogates the school and interrogates their mother. And it isn’t all, it isn’t sort of Coles for a certain, all the women in possibly all the women and non binary cast. And I saw it when I was a senior in high school when I was coming to visit ups, like the university of Puget sound to see if I wanted to go to school there, it was in that senior theater festival at the same showcase that you’re talking about with cloud nine and yeah, I saw,
2

00:38:15
Okay,
1

00:38:16
I stopped production of it. And I didn’t like I had never heard of the play. I didn’t really know what I was into and it just completely rocked my world because it centered the characters I cared about is one character. I’d always wondered about the mother. And it was just this like, like
2

00:38:36
Seminis almost like full like folkloric like this, the characters are architects that there’s archetypical about the way the story is told like eight almost is like, we’re going to tell you Our fairytales. And they’re really like grim part of that, part of that. Well Marina Warner like reengagement with the sort of violence and intensity of a 17th and 18th century European fairytales that sort of like, I don’t think the women’s theater group in the lane, Finestein, we’re thinking about Disney in the way that we and the U S are so on the present leading to think about Disney since the upsurge and the sort of princess moving in the nineties they made because they made the show a sort of across ed sticks and it at 87, right.
2

00:39:34
They are like, what have we done in making fairytales the way that we’ve made them actually under that, that interest in recovering this sort of darkness, a fairy tale is also like the way that fairytales as archetypes relate to psychology or sort of our, our deep, you know, sort of Cultural and this, those structures and our psychology. Right? Yeah. It’s just that there’s so much feminist engagement with, with Shakespeare.
2

00:40:04
I don’t wanna make the argument that this is the one for me. Yeah. I can’t quite a, quite a logical argument. I can’t quite make an aesthetic argument that allows me to be like, really you have to consider this one first. This is the sort of <inaudible> of this, but I feel like it’s so, you know, synthesizing so much of what’s at stake and the one or two other really great things to put by it. But I would argue that this is what happens in, they are in terms of understanding that especially sort of cutting out of the seventies and eighties engagement with Shakespeare feminist Shakespeare.
2

00:40:43
I think there’s probably interest in testing nineties and sort of Arts and teens on the 21st century, like the next things to follow up as well. But this one is just so I conic in that way. What do you remember about that production? Which I guess was in the year 2013, I remember that the character who was the fool also played the mother like that.
2

00:41:13
That was one actor. And then I thought that was brilliant because the only my sleep and production is, is Leigh are the ones where actress, Lillian, Cordelia, please. This is a little, so I was all on board with the actress and the mother. I do remember that the moment when gone a little like slammed the accounting book closed after
1

00:41:34
To Regan that like is, is not economically viable for you to be pregnant and get rid of it. Like I remember that moment, like, like you, like here’s, here’s what your worst as a daughter of li here’s what your work has a daughter who you’re a second, here’s what your work as a daughter of Lee, or if you’re pregnant, nothing, you are worth nothing. If you are pregnant, get rid of it. That moment was like, like, like 18 year old me was like, Oh gosh, but Shakespeare, or that of this would include an abortion story, like would include like, it’s good.
1

00:42:11
It’s really good. And I actually, I actually, I have a, I’m developing a, a leader pre-qual on my own. It’s a very, very different, but I’ve taken The, I’ve taken the abortions up a lot that Regan has because I love it so much. And to me it explains so much. And its to me, it makes her, her poisoning even more desperate because it is something that infects her stomach. And so for her, like that’s gotta be so traumatic that that’s the way she dies. So it was ah, and I just, I just love the fact that the sisters ruled in the play.
1

00:42:44
Like there was no apart from the full mother, a character who also was kind of our avatar as an audience. Like the way that character also just kind of like was our narrator. But I loved that. It was just about the daughters. It was about their experience of being a daughter to someone like year and the, the expectation and oppression and like outright abuse that was baked into that legacy. Umm, and the way that they watched their mother, where they were away in the way that the two older sisters like had to shrink themselves even more because they were not a favorite and the way the court Delia was just so as to whether deliberate or not like just choosing, not to look at the fact that like she was the embodiment of kind of white feminism.
1

00:43:33
If we think about that, if we think about the players, like a sort of feminist allegory, like she was the white feminist and her sisters were women of color. That’s how she approached the girl that she was like, well of course I deserve I’m the baby.
3

00:43:50
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1

00:44:09
Even the late eighties, right? As you say, alternative theater companies and the dominated, especially in England and America I’ll call intersectional urge. Was there even if it was fully formed or sophisticated or a black led as it might be,
2

00:44:32
As you might want it to be now that they need it to be. All of that comes through in this text, in through a workshop process, they sort of explore for the workshop process. You begin to see in a group who had like many alternatives in their companies with a physical, physical based collective creation, a group of devising process creating some of its texts sometimes with authors sometimes without to buy.
2

00:45:05
So some of it’s, the scripts are attributed to sort of the collective, right? Especially the ones that were used for theatre in education pieces. They have a great piece called my mother says I never should’ve actually toured for years to schools, which is essentially about birth control and sexuality and teenagers, but very sophisticated, very specific, but they created and collectively by dividing, right? They did show’s on protest lines in support of labor movement.
2

00:45:39
Then they also work collaboratively with authors to devise and they were better and worse relationships. And that really good text came out of it, but different different experiences for the person who was the author about like actually I’m the one writing the script, you people who are in terms of a, a woman centered collaboration, it is important, but I still get to B the author. You don’t get to override as the author. Sometimes that went very well. And sometimes worse within the theater group created Lear’s daughters as a collaborative group of women.
2

00:46:11
But working with the lane Feinstein is the author and they were lots of phases. It’s credited and many different places different way just by right. Sometimes just by this theater group sometimes by a group that’s of course has many things related to text by author after they have been in alternative due to companies, but that the text is brilliant. Four, all the contention, that part of what’s, it is taken it to right in the way, all of the different, the different needs are coming through it.
2

00:46:53
And that’s part of why I think it’s a little lie around with the three sisters or doing, and the fool is our narrator and there’s this sort of like Siri tale, folklore begins write like the very first the fool is on stage or the school is, has been usually costumed as a combined gender nonbinary complex and that way.
2

00:47:25
And in a sense, there was an old man home here whose
1

00:47:31
The queen was here. It goes into this very interesting sort of associative nursery, right way, got free tickets for tonight. And then the play three princesses to surface one King, one queen this, or she does a bunch of stuff with her fingers, three daughters to, and the fool here’s the fool once they do and then go quiet and lovely it’s so it’s so theatrical, but also like I think, I think it has to be because I actually, my hot take is that Lear also has to be like, if you want to do the real show, I’m not, you don’t necessarily have to be met at a theatrical.
1

00:48:38
Then you have, every production has got to acknowledge that is actually impossible to do that show and that the show is ridiculous. And so whether that is like making, uhm, like a barrel of wine, that’s a throne somehow you just have to like allow the audience to understand that like this is a piece of theater that this is a story. Cause I don’t know how you get through it. Otherwise I think if you, I think if you take it too seriously, the of the audience will be so alienated from caring about anyone.
1

00:49:09
And so distanced by the like cosmic imagining of the language, then they won’t care about what’s happening. And so I think there has to be, I think there has to be refraction. I think there has to be oblique angles. There has to be like some, some acknowledgement that like this is, this story is a kind of scary tale that goes horribly awry is there in the structure of the story is so mythic.
1

00:49:40
And so Our like archaic that I think you have to lean into that in order to like welcome the audience into the world. And so what I love about your daughter’s is it’s this is a play here’s the parts of the play. Or maybe these are the parts of the play, but regardless it’s a play and now we’re going to do it for you. Its such a, it’s such an efficient and brilliant way of like inviting us to enter that, that mythic world of the three princesses and it paradoxically helps us to see them as real people.
1

00:50:15
So yeah, it’s a good read about we are, which is Shakespeare scripts that are the most, I would say I have had
2

00:50:28
So many phases. I’m just being like and different than the way I feel about Hamlet, where I’ve been. I have been able to be like Hamlet. It’s not my favorite. I just sort of like, I like to think I can sort of move with that and I need to Hamlet, like in terms of the things that I need to go back to and struggle with, I’m like I can sort of watch, watch pamphlet makes me so angry.
2

00:50:58
I’ve always been angry. I wanted to say I hated, but I absolutely loved and cared about writers. Teachers, students of other people are like, is all of my favorites or it’s so important to me. And I’m like, why? Because of course I want to believe also every time I see a production of leader and so angry at him because we’ll do right to feel that way.
2

00:51:40
I recognize like the hotness, the feelings about a year, I must, I must investigate that can actually be sort of cold about how much they don’t have as much time yet the hotness to make me crazy has to be alive yet quickly. It’s not about this way all the way, a little bit. Right. You know, he plays, it should be darn exciting.
2

00:52:12
Yes, absolutely. Well, and I like what I find, what I find most resonant about is the way that parents and children feel to understand each other and the way that they fail to be what the other wants them to be. And I, it is partly, sometimes that is intentional. And sometimes that is just the way of the world, but that I love that he gives us to two generations, easy to families and allows us to like take a hard look at them, both because I think there is if he had done one or the other, if you told the story of Gloucester in sounds are a few told a story of a weird his daughters, the Natural followup argument would of been well, its like, that’s just a, that’s just a in their family problem.
2

00:53:00
What if, what if they were girls, if he had daughters, it would have been so much better. Women are of, you know, women are smarter or whatever, or if it was the other way around like, well that’s just women, women are petty in need and b****y in like if you, Hey, had to do sons, it would’ve been different. And Nope, it’s a play about fathers and children and both families are train wrecks and its like, he’s not giving, he doesn’t give anybody a way out of this disastrous across the board.
1

00:53:27
And that is one of the things that keeps me coming back about like love and property, you know, letting children grow up and come into their own and the claim and the priority power, all of those ways. It’s also also in nature and nurture.
1

00:53:57
And of course Shakespeare didn’t have the psychological framework or language that we do. But I think I pretty, I think it was pretty intuitive just as a human person about nature and nurture and how they both are at play. Always like, and people may have different percentages of what’s at play, but they are both are at play always. Okay. And so with Lear, like all of the things that we, that we load about Lear and come to load about here are all of the things that we are seeing reflected in his children and its like, yeah, that it doesn’t, it doesn’t necessarily a hundred percent exonerate them, but it is an uncomfortable place to live when you realize that life, the only reason gone to hell and Regan do the things they do and are the way they are is because he was their father.
1

00:54:45
He was there father and the Cordelia, his like a stubborn self-righteous no at all. And so as her father, like its it’s, they are the things, they are the product, they are, the products is their, of their environment, the, of the product of the slaw love, or a lack of love that they have, they have had to grow up in the world with. And, and I think that Lear’s daughters like it, it doesn’t present any of the three daughters as like the helpless victim of one bad man.
1

00:55:21
It is so much more nuance than that. It is so much more complex than that. And in that way, to me, it truly is speaking to Shakespeare because it is grappling with the multifaceted nature of these girls and how the, it was how so many different variables impacted the way that they are in a way that I think in King Lear he’s like he has like a dodecahedron and he’s like, how did all of these sides can like contribute to the shape in my hands? Right? Like he really is looking at the same thing from so many different angles and that’s part of, what’s so exciting about it.
1

00:55:57
It’s also why it’s so fricking long. I think that with, with Lear’s daughters, it’s the same kind of thing where it’s like, well, how did this influence the way there? How does this influence it, this and this. And it’s like, it like brings together all these threads and like knots them up and is like, C this is, this is the thing. This is why we get what we get. It’s so powerful. I love it. I think powerful
2

00:56:24
And its moment. And it toured into her and written about and written about and written about in the theaters in a different places. So much, very different street in there. And then the silence of mind, which I feel if people haven’t, hadn’t had to get to come back to them until just now. Right. Because it did, there was this experience, a recognition among audiences, women, audiences, and the, in the late eighties getting to a watch it, they were like, Oh yes.
2

00:56:58
Finally, I am getting to go here in this way. That’s sort of saying you’re here is my place again that I actually do belong here. This is a way to understand myself through this is not just to feel marginalized to know. And I think that is part of the alternative engagement with Shakespeare that project, which has now become part of, I think the baseline way, the people who are doing Shakespeare people or people who are doing Shakespeare to explore that as opposed to doing Shakespeare to a certain, certain things.
2

00:57:39
Right. But I do feel part of like that, that, that space of saying like, here are some of the things we need to explore and they just can’t leave this assumed or annexed humid anymore. Right. And it’s, you know, it’s so clearly like the themes and ideas of both plays are still so precious and perhaps never more so than as our, as our sort of economic world becomes more and more stratified.
2

00:58:13
And so we get, we get TV shows like succession, right. That are shining us, but they’re just shining a spotlight on how we haven’t shaken The we haven’t shaken off of that toxic mold yet. And if anything, we’ve come to glorify it even more than it was before. And so when we’ve and we perpetuate it, we continue to perpetuate in capitalism, continues to perpetuate it. And so that, you know,
5

00:58:42
You know,
2

00:58:44
The heating Leary’s totally valid. And like every other, like every other beat of my heart, I also hate it. But on the other, like the kids, I love it because I think that it just never, it like, it never stops having something to say about where we are now and, and how, how toxic this is like that that’s that state is that we’re stuck in. And, and I like the, one of my, one of my brother showed me the first episode of succession. They didn’t really know much about it.
2

00:59:16
I’m still excited. And I sat there to the couch for like 10 minutes after the episode was over. And he was, what do you guys?
1

00:59:22
And he was, I think he was worried that I was like disturbed by it. And instead I was like, you didn’t tell me this was King Lear. You didn’t tell me it was, it was just King Lear. And he was like, Oh, I’ve never read King Lear. And I was like, well, this isn’t welcome to buy here in America. This is what it is, faithful a watcher, a succession. But I did take a Buzzfeed quiz.
6

00:59:51
Yeah.
1

00:59:54
That’s amazing. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s the one to be. But yeah, that, that show is its so funny when people like, when people call it a revelation, cause I’m like, This this ain’t no revelation. This is, this has been, this show has been a long time coming like a breeze ever since the 2016 election. I’m like, we’re going to get a show like succession. But in terms of just like what the play’s about on like in a Eagle eye view, like we’ve been, we’ve been grappling with this, you know, since long before Shakespeare, since we got them sort of the myth of the agent King of Britannia, we’ve been, we’ve been grappling with this in that where you’re like, yeah, totally Shakespeare would of been in that writer’s room with him.
1

01:00:40
He was alive today. Yeah. In fact he would, he would be the one who’s like, can we have an interlude where this like grand nephew and this dumb husband having a comedy scene, like he would be the one advocating for that. Cause he’s all about, he’s all about his variety. And I think that sometimes it’s because he knew that audiences needed a break. And I think also he just was a fundamentally like scatterbrained human, who was like, this is interesting. And also this is in sitting and also this is interesting. So let’s just do all of it.
1

01:01:12
I think that’s how he, I think that’s how he wrote because I think that’s how he was. Umm, so the, the last thing I just want to sort of make sure we touch on before we tap out Sara is that I am about to start a radio drama. We start rehearsals on Monday. This is my, this is my second one. We wrapped on fastest a few weeks ago. I can now confirm, announce that we’re doing William. Congreves the way if the world so like happy and excited for this, its going to be amazing.
1

01:01:42
I’m the cast is yeah. That’s restoration. Comedy is like my heart. I have become absolutely obsessed with it to the point that like I know way more about it than I do about any of Shakespeare is contemporary is really, I, I love, I love the restoration. I love the era. I love these plays. I love how satiric they are. I love how funny and mean they are. And I loved that in every single one, you get to a point where like the characters, like two characters are just standing in a room going like I’m going to be with me right now.
1

01:02:13
Cause I don’t want to acknowledge that I have feelings and I’m really scared that you’re going to hurt them.
2

01:02:25
So it’s so great. They’re all
1

01:02:29
The kids inside. And so that is the sort of the next thing that we’re working on. And so I would just love for you to talk a little bit, if you can, about joint stock in their engagement with restoration.
2

01:02:46
Yeah. This comes out of, I said to you in preliminary, I said, you know, I have written, most of them have three theater companies. And as examples of alternative theater companies, when the theater group in Drake sock and they switch up with leading in a game has to be in theater company is one of the first professionals also thought of as a medical company and defined it around sort of class issues and, and socialism.
2

01:03:22
Although this is as simple as clear as part of the mission is a gateway and I’m going to see in a group, but to really important to you to write things. And I realize as I was prepping, they have a Shakespeare play there’s echoes of Shakespeare and a few of their things cause their English, right? They don’t, they, they don’t have won where they sort of worked. And they often worked with the texts that the whole company read as they went into their devices workshop and they never, but what they did was restoration texts.
2

01:03:59
So there was both a working with Matt role and my masters that resulted a play by the same name, but not, they will play by play. Announcer is very key for their version of it. And Howard Barker did a story of engagement with their best, with the restoration period. That’s called victory in a reaction before them in 84 of them in as a character in it and violence play. And, and I think, you know, like my totally uninformed hot take thesis is if you’re thinking about class issues, the restoration is the GotU in a way different than with its not, its not there.
2

01:04:45
And Shakespeare bottoms like in terms of like gender liberation, utopian is like re claiming narratives, reclaiming narratives, families, all of those things. Shakespeare if you want like OK, how our economics and sexuality and how we’re related you go to the restorations. Right? And the last part of what you’d do is you whip out like you’re. So part of what alternative writers of the sort of leader half of the 20th century do is they rip out the comedy of it and turn them into tragedies on does that when he deals with a restoration, that’s what a Howard Barker does.
2

01:05:26
You allow yourself to really approach like a restoration and say, all of this comedy and elegance is also about like really high stakes stuff played out in a very socially observant judgmental world. So the will of the legacies then joint stuff. Is there a way of working also got streamed into the world courts work across the eighties because of the crossover of max Stafford Clark as artistic director into the Royal court coming out of joint stock.
2

01:06:00
And, and they are in the late eighties with your daughter’s and the sounds are being written, maxed out of the clock and Timberlake we’re in Baker, we are doing a workshop with a, the recruiting officer by George Marquardt to the late 18th century, but still in the bold of restoration comedy show, which produced her, her play, our country’s good, which is another major, you know, play it for me. And those two plays, they performed in repertoire work together across the late eighties. So the, the same cast would be performing.
2

01:06:31
The recruiting officer in our country is good at the next night. And you would, and part of what happened in our country’s good is that the convicts in the first penal colony in Australia put on a production in recruiting officer in honor of George the third birthday, so that you would be seeing people in our countries and our country is a good play, our roles and the recruiting officer in this prison production. Right. Then you would also get to see in a production of recruiting officer, right? Yeah. So I think restoration, how many is just so acute for our mom and about class and social media and marriage and sexuality and just all sorts of things.
2

01:07:10
It’s good to, and just ridiculously funny. There’s like there. And I, I love it because the, as many times as we are invited to laugh at the characters, we are also invited to like curl at what they’re saying because of the alternative is to like see our morning breakfast again.
2

01:07:43
They are. So they are so horrible and the like the things they do to each other are so atrocious that like laughter is the only valve that is like safe to let out those feelings of revulsion. Yeah. Or it’s like, I’m laughing, but I think you’ve actually sliced my hand off. Right. You know, like is, it is just the, the, the, the verbal dexterity is the extraordinary,
1

01:08:17
The words are good, but I’m laughing and I’m believing that sharp, their limb is in actually bleeding. You’re a part is right in the blood is a metaphorical. And its like, Oh, you broke my heart. So, and it wasn’t until I found, I didn’t really find restoration comedy until like the past 18 months or so. And I’ve become so obsessed that I feel like I actually probably know more about this era than in any other theater history.
1

01:08:49
Like I just love these plays so much. And in, I don’t, I don’t really like research. Like I will do it to like aid art, but I don’t enjoy just the process of it. But I have done so much research into, into these plays and into the restoration because I just, I find it all so fascinating the, their instance as with today, but it really is like the intersection of all of my favorite things. Like its, its its power and class and money and sexuality, which is what I love about Margaret Atwood.
1

01:09:23
Right? Like that’s what she’s thinking about. That’s what she’s writing about. All of her speculative fiction is like money, power, politics and sexuality, which is these plays. And also it’s like, it’s my favorite conceit of my favorite Jane Austen novel Emma, which is like, we forgive, we forgive people when they’re clever. We forget that we accept a lot of s****y behavior from people. If they say things in a witty funny way. And that is, that is I think one of the things that Austin is like lifting the curtain on with Emma, I think that’s part of the reason that book is so spectacular is because she’s look at, look at what we will ignore, look at what we will willingly turn a blind eye to if it is humorous or pleasing or it makes us feel smart or a superior.
1

01:10:11
And that, that idea is like IM it’s a baked into the restoration models. And so there, and so the combination of like those, this sort of the sociopolitical, ah, and sort of Cultural themes that I’m most interested in as an artist. And then like just this idea that like we, we, we have the capacity to be extraordinarily cruel in the name of being smart and funny and witty umm, which is the way that has been laid to my charge several times in my life.
1

01:10:44
Like I just, I find it all. So kind of intoxicating and, and just so relevant today, just so, so, so satirically like perfect in terms of skewering, the a B the America and also kind of the world we live in with Our with are social media filters. So its going to be great. I’m there, I’m going to say to get started. I just wanted to make sure that I announced it and also told you, because I knew that it was
2

01:11:14
Going to, it was going to be exciting for you as it is. So yeah. So I mean, that’s kind of all the questions I have, but is there anything else you want to touch on to talk about? No, I mean, I’m so happy. I almost wanted to talk about the cheek by jowl as you like it all male as you like it as another factor of like how alternative the theater in the eighties and nineties was grappling with Shakespeare and that would have been that Link’s in interesting ways is to force of habit to its also like a big, a big a deal.
2

01:11:53
I think we did really well. I was so happy to get to talk to you. Thank you so much for being the time to come on our show. It’s just been, it’s a light talking to you. Yes. Excellent. Thank you. And I hope your, your audience City of your community around Tea have some fun with this. So
4

01:12:17
That’s our show for today.
2

01:12:19
You’ve been listening to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Lunch Hours
4

01:12:22
The next time.

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