Throwback Alert! This After Hours special with Rob Gibbs and Jeremy Fiebig was originally recorded in the summer, so some discussion topics may seem a little dated (yet still interesting to ruminate on). Get the spiciest of takes on a Trump interview, as well as stagecraft wonderment and a reading of a shared project called ‘The Hangman’s Tale’ just in time for spooky season!
We’d love to hear your own spicy takes on ‘The Hangman’s Tale’ – feel free to contact us at email@example.com
The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig and edited by Ashanti Bennett. Jen Pommerenke and Julie Schaefer also assisted with this episode.
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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Welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare After Hours where we offer you in depth conversations, insider insights, and a sneak peek behind the scenes. Hello? Hello.
Where did that music come from? Jeremy are a good friend. Oh, and Eddy who use to live in town and move to Hawaii because of his army job wrote that for us, for production is actually in our history. That’s cool. Okay. You and I were on a production apparently as once together. Well, strictly speaking, I was not in that production.
I, I came out at the beginning of it in what was, I guess, appreciate announcements capacity, a and sort of active j*****s for five minutes, a at the top of your show and then Sunday estate and then some kind of left. But that was a good that a good production. Yeah. Yeah. I had fun. I still remember the song you made up paradise paradise. May I have a program, please?
I am proud of that. To the extent that it was made up in the moment as I was coming down, the stairs was very Julie <inaudible>. That was how he started on that a little bit. And that as I was coming down, there was a person <inaudible>. So, so yeah, that is not it’s funny because people do, I mean, to handle the people who We we’d hope, who remember that, that does get brought up periodically.
It was one of the, every time in grad school, one of the things that people throw Maggie at me more often than anything else. So I don’t know what to make of that. Exactly. The pedicle of the work that I did during that time. But it appears that maybe,
Well, this is a surprise to everyone. We didn’t tell anybody we were doing this. We’re just here. So hello. You’ve been surprised. Secret show. It’s a secret show on. And so, although like no one has seen our faces for many weeks, although were still on the podcast. Like we had lots of, you know, we’re, we’re a weekly on the podcast. So, you know, this all appear on a podcast in a few weeks after we’re all caught up, I guess. Very nice. So we’re talking about stuff today. We’re talking about Trump’s Axios interview and Perry Mason, and then we’ve got a scene and to read, we’ve never read a scene.
Yeah. We’re thinking we may add this in as a, a feature that we periodically do hear on the podcast slash E broadcast a, the show as it were some original piece of short material, a scene of some sort, maybe a short play in and of itself, but we’ll periodically do a little bit of theater and well, how about a story that we’re, we’re a little periodically a kink in to the feed here.
So that was fine, but yet, so you say, we want to start with the Axios interview, a Donald Trump, if we don’t know what we’re talking about for HBO as a TV series, as geos, which is a The television, I guess, broadcast well, cable broadcast. I show that goes along with the Axios website political website.
Umm, I was an interview with Donald Trump at the white house by Jonathan Swan. It was a regular reporter for actually us at the white house. We are your thoughts about that. Jeremy okay.
So I, I loved it perversely. I loved it. It, it gets re has reminded me most of the old school, John Stuart, a daily show interviews in terms of its sort of staging and in terms of the, the, the getting a ridiculous response and ridiculous words out of someone’s mouth. But of course the Jon Stewart stuff was sort of edited to do some of that, right, Andy, and to, to sort of purposefully make, you know, uninformed people look stupid or stupid people look stupid, or this was, this kind of worked in the opposite direction.
Right. It was just revealing as opposed to, I think working it, working at an angle and in the way that the Taylor show stuff did.
Yeah. I think that’s true. Part of what’s interesting about it to me. Oh, they’re a lot of interesting things about it. And this has been spoken about quite a bit. No doubt of people listening to this or watching have seen the interviewer in her, a lot of commentary about it and that they have a whole thing clips or around online, or you can find the entire interview on the line it’s worth taking a look at. It does feel different from other interviews that Trump has done recently.
And the farther back to the past, he seems to be this guy on the heels of, in an interview that he did with a Chris Wallace. So at Fox reasonably does feel like he’s trying to engage with congregational media, which credit to him, I guess, you know, given, breaking his emo over the past four years of shining demo of media, he’s clearly diving into that. I think to try and create a contrast with Joe Biden, who according to their narrative is docking all press and all difficult interviews.
So he can say, look, I did these interviews and I am sure that this have Yasmin. I already said it where he probably has. He will be assumes as you know, I’m going, I’m having these interviews. If people are saying they are incredibly difficult, incredibly hard, I’m going in for them and let’s show by doing so that’s the purpose of doing this? And it may ring out to his benefit ultimately seems to me that these sorts of interviews do sort of confirm the priors of whoever’s going into it though.
This one is interesting because the response does seem to have had people who support kind of even can see that was a bad look for him. I’m curious about like really diving into what it is that made this so much worse for him than other interviews. I don’t think that this is going to have a necessarily lasting, in fact, I think it would be cumulative. The end will be, Andy has a number of moments that will be remembered.
So what is it that, that, that made this damaging? I contend that Stagecraft has so having to deal with it, but yeah, it tells you what I mean, tell us what you mean about, well, okay. Couple of things. This was an unusual interview in that, the way that it was well, part of this is because it was raised, MBO was using different sorts of cameras, had a more filmic look to it in part because as he goes presents itself as an elevated news magazine, that is on HBO.
And so the visual style of it is higher than the kind of grainy washed out or a flat look that you see on cable TV often, which also tends to be framed in very close, close up, you know, two shots. You got one a while on camera fray to enclose on the present from the shoulder up. And then one Friday in clothes on the interviewer for a lot of the chest up and a, this was different and that they have a lot of coverage.
It at least three cameras and they were the quality of the, they fell was higher. It was a higher, it was a, so you got, it was a better definition. And so it felt like you are watching a scene from something on a film or a TV show in some way, which is suddenly sadly shifts the dynamic.
I feel like a little bit and a half also. You just got a lot more the body language. They are both of the people involved. So which health to tell the story better. Now, a part of what was interesting about that to is that they were very animated. Current is usually very animated. So it’s not really a surprise, but swine as the journalist, during the interview was unusually demonstrative in many ways.
And so on that level, I think the tactical Schaefer level, I think that, that a lot, in fact, in my perception of it and when I was talking about Stagecraft, the other point that I made is that the interplay between the two of them, it felt very much like a scene. I think so from, to me, I’m seeing in a film or a TV show, again, part of that is because the way there was filmed that also they were unusual things about the way that Swan approached that interview were a public conversation and felt like you were watching and interplay between two different characters almost.
And I think that that had the effect of bringing down the presidents lard in certain respects though. I think he is basically he is, but it was also affecting to see someone responding to him in a way that felt Natural the sick and, and human in a way that interviews with him rarely too seem.
And there was some sort of cathartic in emotionally charging about that. We can get into some of the details of that, but that’s kind of what I’m talking about when we talking about Stagecraft I guess.
Yeah. It’s really interesting. Cause where my brain goes with with hearing you say that is, you know, of course when you stage or a screen, something in that way, the thing that’s gonna follow as a sort of a revelation of character. Cause that’s what we’re trained to look at when we look at those things, when you frame it or when you stage it in this way, our brains are the sort of encoded now watching, you know, 40 plus years or whatever happens to be of, of this thing. We’re S we’re, we’re making associations about character that are different than, than your right, the, the sort of one dimensional 24 hour cable news, umm, way of handling that most of the time.
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s right. And I think that the president is a demonstrative person in his body language and is in his language and, you know, news in our country. The style of it has for many years in to try and frame came off in a way that feels digestible and that flattens things out a little bit, you know, there’s a professionalism to the interviewer that we all sort of a SPECT, a little bit of work in.
You see, somebody’s interviewed with the president a, a, a deference, which is a Swan had, but there were other Hours that move away from the norm. A deference was one of those things where also a sort of polished on unflappable demeanor. There’s a real emphasis placed on sort of a smoothness in continuity for the interview that at the almond has the effect of normalizing odd behavior, especially with the president, when you put that frame on it, that cable news frame on the president with an interview who, with an interviewer who maintains a sort of a unflappable presentation, get the impression this is normal or everything that’s happening right now is part of the, you know, understood acceptable, whatever.
And this Rogan, the style of the thing broke that for that reason at all. So Swann’s physical responses, which were, ER, it was interesting because you look on, I first this interview and clips and images, the memes that have come from this online are still proliferating. And you know, Swan’s facial expressions are a pretty funny, you know, his responses, his reactions to things, a puzzlement of a amusement occasionally, but we’ll Durbin, you know, you, you take them in freeze frame.
It may be the impression that the interview was gonna be somewhat hostile, a just taking a look at those and a couple of, of the clips that we’re circulating. It was interesting watching the entire interview. I, in context. So how does an interesting thing is he doesn’t feel really hostile. He feels like he, he does seem like he’s being respectful on what’s interesting is you get the sense of a relationship that to do with them.
Share president knows him, and he knows the president and he’s digging into a, this discussion with a year of somebody who, you know, as maintaining a professional relationship as a Panda, a deference and a respectfulness, but who also has the sort of agency of someone who carries over a relationship that exists outside of the frame.
And you can see that on both sides. And it was interesting in part with that too, is that the president clearly on some level likes this guy, I took that away. I see it.
Yeah. I see what you’re saying. I think there’s the w w one of the takeaways I have from watching the interview is that, and I, I could not tell if it was a game that was being played or if it was skill or if it was sort of a genuine approach, but, but I saw Swan echoing back Trump to Trump in terms of the specifically in terms of what you’re talking about with like these, these other people might call them micro aggressive responses.
Right. And I’m not sure, but, but I think you’re right, that they’re not entirely aggressive. They are more that they can be red as like, I’m trying to understand you are really, and trying to understand you, you helped me out here. And, and at times I saw particularly in the stuff that, that has gotten sort of clipped out and shown, it does look like to people who are sort of doing this nonverbal parring and that’s what it’s about, but I see what you’re saying.
Yeah, well, right. I do feel like Swan, there is a sophisticated thing that he’s doing their, you know, when you talk about mirroring the president himself, there is, there is a subconscious or a theatrical element to him. I think like the deference that he shows to the president and part of what may seem effective here is that part of what it’s interesting is that he responds in granular form to everything that’s the president says and does takes him on his own terms and, and responds in good faith to the president.
One of the things that I think is a problem with people who we interview him frequently, is that because of what I was talking about, that sanitizing, the impulse on the part of interviewers in particularly cable news. And then the president says something that’s really crazy or demonstrably false, or kind of stupid. A lot of times people just sort of delete it.
The, the interviewer just passes over it, it part, because I think that they don’t know how to respond in a way that isn’t immediately rude. Sorry, just say that stupid or a no you’re wrong. Or, you know, in a way that’s fairly aggressive, what Swan manages to do. And I do think it’s an act. Is he engages in a conversation as if it was a, well, let me finish.
I was saying before the a and so the people who, who were usually interviewed with the president are talking to him at interview type of session rather than immediately come out with something that well shot down the conversations, which is no you’re wrong, or that’s stupid, or, or whatever, because that’ll elicit ad response from him. They’ll either, they’ll just usually not pursue it. Do you know what I mean? Or are they will pursue it in that way.
And then president Trump gets Tassie and shuts it down at the end of it. What a Swan did was interesting is he maintained a, a, a sort of good faith response to the person, to the president where you said, well, wait a minute, is this is what your saying? I don’t, I don’t understand. Could you tell them what books are you talking about? What manuals not with the president, say the word shouldn’t read the manual is to find out about why someone shouldn’t test as much.
It said, well, what manuals or are you talking about as opposed to, you know, Hey, which is to say he pretended to be a little bit more sort of naive than he actually is in some respects. So, and yet at the same time, for a perfectly honest answer, I mean, they, there is something really desiring about the president. Well, he says something, they need to read the manuals, reading the books. And somebody said something that really breaks your brand a little bit is like, well, I don’t know how to respond to that crazy thing that he does said.
So I’m going to pretend he didn’t say it, which as often as not is how people respond to that, you know, Swan served in this very sincere, and now I’m showing you that I’m puzzled sort of way. So that was what manuals are you talking about? Even as a little bit of the thing that Tucker Carlson actually does on Fox a lot, which has Tucker Carlson, the tops, this sort of puzzled face, as you know, when he hears them, he was like, are you, are you saying right now, I, I don’t understand I’m needing my brow and I’m showing you how much I’m confused by the thing that you’re saying, try to cross.
It was never confused. He, you know, that that’s an act, that’s a presentational act and Swan has managed to master that to some degree as well. You know, there’s sort of presentational, you know, conveying of confusion, but also in a way that seem sincere when strictly speaking, it isn’t really, you know, he, he barely, it’s a, it’s a show.
And I think, is it part of what he said? The fact of with Trump to some degree is that no president Trump has a good show biz in sticks. They have nothing else. You know what I mean? And a certain lives of his presidency is it was a TV show or behaves as if it was a type in public as if he was performing and to find somebody who meets him at that place suddenly makes a thing pop in a way that it frequently doesn’t.
I think that what Swan did is he played on Trump’s field it in a way that reporters frequently don’t feel comfortable doing. I think, you know, the sort of maintaining the strictly sort of confrontational, a sort of tenor to the discussion under normal circumstances is part of what