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The Hurly Burly Shakespeare Show!
62 minutes | Nov 28, 2022
City Nightcap 101
This week we’re talking about The City Nightcap by Robert Davenport, a bewildering play by an even more bewildering (read: mysterious) author. We try to help you Meet the Contemporary, but Bobby Davs left us very little to go on; our Taste of Text is sure to amuse (and confuse) you; we talk a LOT about all the kicking happening in this play, as well as why it - among other things - is so problematic (read: sexist AF). If you have the chance to see this play, awesome, but if you don’t you’re not really missing much aside from a unique barnyard-themed masque and the most hilarious not-a-bed-trick bed trick of all time. Have a great holiday season and we’ll see you in January!
54 minutes | Nov 14, 2022
Twelfth Night 302
This week we return to the classic romantic comedy, Twelfth Night, to talk about the recent production at the American Shakespeare Center (directed by the amazing Jenny Bennett) and how it's a great example of how queering your casting and production concept can unlock new takes on a well-known, popular play. We also gossip about Jess's experience at the recent Early Modern Trans Conference, as well as some...um...highly questionable choices made by a certain theatre company for their ill-fated production of Romeo & Juliet. Bottom line, when in doubt: queer it up and say NO to Nazis.
45 minutes | Oct 31, 2022
Troilus & Cressida 201
Well, we hope you like feminist rants, because that’s what most of this episode devolved into. In this 201 we go off on Troilus and the rest of the men of Troilus and Cressida to interrogate why the Greeks and Trojans hinged all of their masculinity and self worth on Helen and Cressida’s status as chaste virgins. We also take a brief birdwalk to examine the folio text of this play to check an odd prose-to-verse switch in act 3 scene 2. Finally, we dust the cobwebs off of a favorite game, Line Roulette, and find out why a line about Achilles’ Mermidons cries encapsulates this entire play full of whiny boys.
63 minutes | Oct 17, 2022
It’s our first ever 101 for a Spanish Golden Age play! Today we’re talking about Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna and all the wild, wonderful customs and traditions of the early modern Spanish theatre. Our Meet the Playwright segment takes you through de Vega’s impressive (and horny) biography; Jess delights with her multitude of voices in A Taste of Text; we take you through the real event that this play is based on - true crime, again, huzzah! - and Aubrey compares the structure and culture of Spanish playhouses to the English ones we usually talk about, plus the added layer of textual instability that comes with second-language translation. The differences may surprise you! Not only that, but this play gives you the perfect excuse for your mistakes and/or crimes: just say “Fuenteovejuna did it!”
68 minutes | Oct 3, 2022
Birth of Merlin 101
Sooooooo William Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin actually has very little to do with Merlin or any other part of the Arthurian legend, and it’s more of a history play than its title would suggest. We re-introduce you to playwright William Rowley, who apparently loved to write himself into all of his plays as a “fat clown;” we give you A Taste of Text from Act IV involving a little antic spirit; we talk about how this play doesn’t fit neatly into any particular genre because it is doing The Literal Most at all times, but for all that it’s not even that great; then we gossip a bit and that’s that. Don’t believe anyone that tells you this play was written by Shakespeare, and definitely don’t believe them if they say it’s their favorite play.
69 minutes | Sep 19, 2022
Roaring Girl 101
Season 6 begins with a ROAR(ing Girl) courtesy of Thomases Dekker and Middleton. The famous city comedy features real-life legend Mary Frith, aka Moll Cutpurse, but not with nearly the stage time such a character deserves; we give you a brief introduction to the lesser-known Thomas of this collab team, Dekker, and also a Taste of Text where Moll’s voice really shines. Jess gives you a refresher on the city comedy genre, as well as the real life Moll and we deliver a little personal gossip. We hope you enjoy our roaring return. It’s good to be back!
61 minutes | Mar 21, 2022
As You Like It 301
Why As You Like It now? We cover many possible answers to this question, but also take some long, healthy bird walks into other topics both relevant and irrelevant as we make our way through those thoughts. We also dive deep into the New Oxford edition’s notes on AYLI (because it gets real sexist real quick) and attempt to unravel the printing mystery of why there is no quarto edition of this play. We gossip a little bit about the ethics of book reviews in Shakespeare journals and how Jon Snow…err…Kit Harrington is playing Henry V right now, once again disproving Aubrey’s claim that “no one’s doing the Henrys right now.” This episode is our season 5 finale; watch out for extras released during our hiatus, but otherwise we will see you for season 6 this fall. Go find your Green World!
59 minutes | Mar 7, 2022
Taming of the Shrew 201
Today’s episode tackles one issue and one issue only, and that is to refute the assertion that The Taming of the Shrew is about “romance” (whatever the F that means). We examine a variation in the text between First Folio printing and several modern editions that seem to either soften or double down on Petruchio’s “domination” of Katherine, and eventually come to the conclusion that no matter which way you slice it, the entire charade is unnecessary. We unpack the term “romantic” and why our mothers’ opinions on romantic love might not have aged well, as well as quite possibly the only interpretation of Shrew that could make its protagonists journey actually romantic. No spoilers. #consentissexy
63 minutes | Feb 21, 2022
Spanish Tragedy 201
Today we put on our teacher hats and model the kind of thinking we ask our students to do. After a four-year hiatus, we return to Thomas Kyd’s ur-revenge tragedy that started them all, The Spanish Tragedy, to discuss how the F*ck we’re supposed to unpack it for 21st century learners. Jess starts with examining the difference between revenge and justice which, though nebulous, proved an easier topic to broach with her students than the concept of dumb shows and masques. Um…they don’t talk? There are masks and sometimes dancing? (There’s more to it than that, but you’ll need to listen to catch it all!)
65 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
Sometimes when you think you have nothing to say about a play, it turns out you still have a sh*t-ton to say. Today’s 301 episode revisits The Tempest, and we ask the question - what is its genre, really, and also why this play now? Jess posits that maybe The Tempest would feel a little more cathartic at the end if it were staged more like a revenge tragedy at the beginning; Aubrey speculates a bit about why so many regional theaters have added this title to their 2022 lineup. Oh, and we take not one but TWO birdwalks down Marie de France lane because Jess just can’t shut up about this medieval author. Lesbian weasels! Fun times!
59 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
SURPRISE! You thought you were getting a Love’s Labour’s episode but we had a last minute change of plans. Instead, we opted for something new, a way to get a bunch of plays into a 201-ish discussion without dedicating an episode to each individual one (because, tbh, we’re down to the dregs - mostly plays we just don’t wanna talk about anymore). So we invented 201 Roulette! Jess and Aubrey take turns drawing the names of plays out of a hat and extemporizing about those plays however they like. No spoilers, but you’ll definitely get a dose of what we love and hate, as well as who we would cast in dream productions of the titles we draw. Tell us what you think - if you like this format, we might do it again!
65 minutes | Jan 10, 2022
This episode is a Hurly Burly first, both because we’re rolling 201 content for three plays - 1 & 2 Henry IV and Henry V - all into one episode, but also because we have a MAJOR SCOOP in ShakesBubble Gossip that you get to hear all about here first! The endlessly charming Brandon Carter joins us to talk about tackling the arc of the first Henriad as Prince Hal/King Henry, being the first (and maybe only?) African American to play the role in a series of connected productions, and spill the hot hot tea about what else is happening in his career. You’ll have to listen to the end to catch it, but he’s such a delight that you won’t mind one bit.
69 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
Hamlet 202: Interred With Their Bones
In our second ever 202 episode (reserved for a Shakespeare adaptation or adjacent work), we take you through the suspenseful and sometimes bemusing and frustrating plot of Jennifer Lee Carrell’s mystery thriller Interred With Their Bones. We give you a plot and character synopsis as well as all the Shakespearean easter eggs you can handle, with just a sprinkle of “authorship question” (because the book forced us to) and some early modern true crime to boot. Looking for a fun read for your holiday break? Read this book (and listen to our episode before you do)!
67 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
It’s not enough to talk to one Bottom about being Nick Bottom, we needed at least 2: utter delights and all-around good humans (and actors) Topher Embry and Gregory Jon Phelps join us to talk about what they love (and hate) about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing Bottom and other characters, and so much more. It’s a shenanigan roller coaster for this 301-level episode, so buckle up!
63 minutes | Nov 22, 2021
Knight of the Burning Pestle 101
This week we bring you not one but TWO guest experts to tell us why our tepid feelings about Beaumont's Knight of the Burning Pestle are just plain wrong, Emily Lathrop and Sawyer Kemp. Emily and Sawyer jump right in and not only deliver hot takes about Pestle, they also give us the goods in our Happy Hour and Gossip segments, and grace us with their high theatricality in A Taste of Text. Think a play within a play within a play is just too complicated to produce? Think again!
55 minutes | Nov 8, 2021
Atheist's Tragedy 101
You’re definitely not ready for Cyril Tourneur’s tour de force, The Atheist’s Tragedy: a tragicomedy (?) about the machinations of a dastardly atheist and his terrible family. We bring back all our beloved 101 features for this episode: Meet the Contemporary (spoiler: ol’ Cyril’s kinda boring…); A (sexy and ghoulish) Taste of Text; we summarize the play for you and play a new(ish) game, Lost Plays Roulette. No real gossip this week, not because things weren’t happening but because we weren’t paying attention, but to make up for it we do teach you the difference between a milliner and a haberdasher, so there’s that.
60 minutes | Oct 25, 2021
Comedy of Errors 201
It’s been sooooooo long since we did a Comedy of Errors episode we nearly forgot it existed. We’re here to fix that today. Today we’re talking about early performances of the play and the great source text mystery! We also bring back another feature we forgot about for a long time: How 2 Grad School! And instead of choosing the topics for that ourselves, this week we answered the questions of a fan and prospective grad student, Austin. (Good luck, Austin! We’re rooting for you!) Then we gossip a little bit and GTFO. Happy Halloween!
64 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
Arden of Faversham 201
This week we bring in guest Sheila Coursey, Assistant Professor of English at Saint Louis University who works on late medieval and early modern theater and narratives of crime, to talk to us about how she uses Arden of Faversham to engage students in conversations about contemporary true crime narratives. We rabbit hole (just a little) into which early modern married couples ever get to be alone together on stage (hint: it’s NOT the Ardens), investigate what’s with all the white girls and their tears?, and try to delineate what constitutes a “true crime” or “domestic tragedy” story. It’s not as -ahem- clean cut as you might think (see what we did there?)
110 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
The Old Wife's Tale 101
SURPRISE! It’s been a hell of a 6-month hiatus and we have sooooooooo much to catch up on (hence the MEGA-EPISODE 2-hour special)! For our Season 5 Premiere, we gathered some brilliant friends to read George Peele’s The Old Wife’s Tale, in full, for your enjoyment. We skipped a few of the usual 101 features to allow time for the reading, but we still bring you the high points of Peele’s life and career in our Meet the Contemporary segment; we also catch you up on the early modern haps that passed by over the summer. Thank you so much to Patrick Harris, Aley O’Mara, Yasmine Hachimi, Merlyn Sell, Elizabeth Tavares, and Joey Gamble for lending your voices, your laughter, and your smokin’ hot takes to our first episode of the season.
62 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
Friar Bacon & Friar Bungay 101
The votes are in: The Queen’s Men play the fans wanted for our Season 4 finale is Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay! We Meet the Contemporary, Robert Green, and give you all of the underwhelming details of his life and career; we summarize this very strange play and give you a Taste of Text with the iconic Brazen Head scene; we discuss the many staging challenges presented in the text; our ShakesBubble Gossip segment is hot off the presses! And then it’s time to bid you all adieu (until Season 5, that is). Have a great summer, friends!
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