Lone Star Shakespeare (with Jenni Stewart)

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This week Daniel and Monty sit down with director, producer, and Associate Artistic Director of Shakespeare Dallas, Jenni Stewart. To learn more, follow her on Instagram @jennalola

Topics include:

  • Monty’s life’s work of getting everyone he knows from Dallas to move to NYC
  • The enduring splendor of snow for people born in the south
  • Jenni’s journey from producing intern to Program Coordinator to Associate Artistic Director in her 14 years with Shakespeare Dallas
  • Jenni’s background in performance art, avant-garde, and making really f*$%ing good shadows
  • Infusing principles of anant-grade performance into her interpretations of Shakespeare so that any type of learner can absorb the story
  • Directing a play so that a dog could watch and follow the story
  • The job of directing as being a professional audience member
  • The importance of the setting up character, concept, and setting first 7-10 minutes of a Shakespeare play for audience members
  • Jenni’s early 1900s Suffragette-era Taming of the Shrew and its Silent Film homage to the Induction
  • The unique difficulties of working in large, outdoor, mic’d spaces
  • The Tablework Controversy: essential, or a waste of time?
  • Shakespeare practitioners who have open disdain for scholars
  • Shakespeare Dallas’s Canon Completion Project: The Complete Works of Shakespeare as unabridged staged readings with just a week of rehearsal
  • The fake news of Romeo and Juliet’s “two hours traffic”
  • The importance of bridging the gap between the skills and knowledge of an Elizabethan actor and those of a contemporary actor in “original practice” rehearsal environments
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s PlayOn project, modern playwrights translating Shakespeare’s plays
  • Words that only appear once in Shakespeare’s plays: translate them, or play them as a character making up a word?
  • How to bring the inherent collaboration built into Shakespeare’s plays into a 21st century production setting.
  • The fact that every time to produce Shakespeare you are doing an adaptation by cutting, choosing a version, putting on a concept, etc.
  • Protecting capital “S” Shakespeare versus collaborating with a down and dirty playwright
  • Folio vs. Quarto versions of the texts, and the incredible opportunity we have to get our fingers dirty and collaborate with Shakespeare by working from the original source material and choosing the versions that work for our particular productions and groups of actors.
  • Moving out of the “Newlywed” phase of directing Shakespeare and becoming less “precious” with the plays.
  • The fact that cutting one line of Shakespeare means you are adapting the play, and its implications for more “controversial” adaptation.
  • The potential problems with how our educational system teaches Shakespeare (and literature)
  • Send us your own personal translations of Shakespeare! Daniel will read them and Monty will wear his Darth Vader mask while maybe or maybe not paying attention!
  • Jenni’s journey from actor to director and the clear crossroads where that new journey began.
  • ASMR

Music is by Kara Arena, Master of Music for Rude Grooms. Share your thoughts and questions with us @thiswoodeno on Twitter and Instagram, email audio responses to thiswoodeno@rudegrooms.com, visit us on the web at thiswoodeno.com, like us at facebook.com/thiswoodenopod/, or support us on Patreon (patreon.com/rudegrooms) to join the conversation during livestream broadcasts of every episode.

This week, Daniel recommends the upcoming Album It is What it is by Thundercat (releasing April 3), and its single “Dragonball Doorag.” Monty Recommends the podcast An Actor Despairs, hosted by Ryan Perez, and available wherever you listen to podcasts.

This week’s shoutouts, recommendations, & further reading include:

This Wooden O is a production of Rude Grooms. Learn more at rudegrooms.com or follow us @rudegrooms on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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