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Shakespeare Decoded

Shakespeare Decoded

By Shakespeare Dallas
The social issues of Shakespeare's day which are featured in his plays (class division, racism, sexuality, intolerance, etc...) are still the burning issues in today's dysfunctional global society. This new and exciting podcast series will explore these social issues, connecting them straight from the page to our modern world. Each episode features panelists from all over the country sharing their expertise as we explore our humanity using Shakespeare as a cornerstone.
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Currently playing episode

What a Noble Mind: Hamlet and Mental Health

Shakespeare Decoded

Timon of Athens and Our Modern Financial World
Timon of Athens is Shakespeare’s most explicit tragic take on the role of money. Its importance for modern capitalism is evidenced by the fact that it is one of Shakespeare's plays that Karl Marx explicitly references in his writings. Predictably, it has received increased attention in scholarship and has witnessed a rising number of stage performances in recent years in the wake of global financial crises. Michael Johnson (Actor, Director, Educator) and Montgomery Sutton (Rude Grooms, This Wooden O Podcast) are welcomed by our host, Jenni Stewart (Artistic Associate) in a discussion on money, reality, trust, and economic symbols. Readings from the script performed by Shawn Gann. Learn more about us at 
April 29, 2022
Shakespeare and Veterans
What does Shakespeare have to teach us about the veteran experience? Join host Brian Wilson (Founder, and guest Stephan Wolfert (Founder, as they discuss their transition from active duty US Military to civilian life, trauma, breath, community and Macbeth. This episode contains discussions of trauma, suicide, and addiction. please take care while listening.  Stephan Wolfert (US Army, ’86-’93, Medic & Infantry Officer) left a career in the military for a life in the theatre after seeing Shakespeare’s Richard III. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island. He has written four original plays and four adaptations of Shakespeare from a military Veteran’s perspective. He also has ten scientific journals published, has contributed to two book chapters in the scientific field, and is currently completing two books. He frequently writes, lectures and is interviewed for his work known as DE-CRUIT®: a program to reintegrate military Veterans using Shakespeare and science. The organization he runs and the performances of his Shakespeare adaptations combine to share his passion for the idea that while we are very good at recruiting people into the military, we are far less skilled at de-cruiting them back into civilian life. Recommended Readings:  Achilles in Vietnam, Jonathan Shay Odysseus in America, Jonathan Shay The Body Keeps Score, Bessel van der Kolk The Wisdom of Trauma, Gabor Maté
March 15, 2022
Political Shakespeare
Hosted by Production Manager, Adrian Churchill, this episode explores the diverse ways that Shakespeare’s plays can be explored politically. Featured guests, Maryam Baig, Whitney Holotik, and Dennis Raveneau, discuss the numerous styles of political action and role evident in a variety of Shakespeare’s works, from statesmanship and the competition for state office or for sovereignty, to the everyday relations of kinship and friendship, to the individuals’ struggles against politically established power – patriarchy, class, law – that constrains or oppresses them. They also discuss the politics of their own Shakespearean careers.
February 08, 2022
Shakespeare in Modern Translation
The typical Shakespeare production follows an odd convention: a contemporary setting with Elizabethan language. What if we flipped that? Contemporary language with an Elizabethan setting. What might we learn about the plays from putting them through that lens? Hosted by Associate Artistic Director, Jenni Stewart, this episode explores Shakespeare in Modern Translation with Lue Douthit, Founder and Creative Director of Play On Shakespeare. In the fall of 2015, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced a new commissioning program called Play on! 36 playwrights translate Shakespeare. The project was simple yet enthusiastically ambitious in its original conception: to commission 36 playwrights (with one lucky playwright taking on all three Henry VIs) to translate 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare (including Two Noble Kinsmen and Edward III) into contemporary, modern English over the course of three years. At the end of Play On!’s three-year tenure at OSF, energized by its overwhelming scope and success, the project’s producing team secured funding to form their own, new not-for-profit company. On January 1, 2019, they established Play On Shakespeare, an organization funded by the Hitz Foundation that seeks to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays for theater professionals, students and audiences by engaging with contemporary translations and adaptations *Please note the originally scheduled production of Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Dallas in January 2022 was canceled due to Covid-19.
January 11, 2022
Oh, Let Me Not Be Mad: King Lear and Aging
Join us as we explore the journey King Lear goes through from beginning the of play as a self absorbed tyrant to his family, to a man full of love and compassion at the end. Panelists bring both deep context to the play through Shakespeare’s writing and relevant contemporary issues with older adults that relate to the play. This episode is hosted by Raphael Parry (Executive and Artistic Director of Shakespeare Dallas) and features Erik Ehn (Professor at the University of New Mexico, Playwright, Guide at Still Write Silent Retreats) and Aubrey Ferguson (Actor, Musician, Activities Director at a senior housing facility). Featured Voice Actors:  Dennis Raveneau (as King Lear) Meagan Harris (as Cordelia) Raphael Parry ( as Fool and Doctor)
May 11, 2021
Tis The Times' Plague: Shakespeare and Pandemics
Hosted by Jenni Stewart (Associate Artistic Director, Shakespeare Dallas) with guest panelists Daniel Kemper (Master of Casting & Company Management at Rude Grooms and Co-Host of This Wooden O) and Montgomery Sutton (Master of Revels at Rude Grooms and Co-Host of This Wooden O). William Shakespeare lived his entire life in the shadow of the bubonic plague. Much of his work was composed, if not in lockdown, then in the shadow of a highly infectious disease without a known cure. This episode discusses how the plague affected some of Shakespeare's greatest works as well as how our current pandemic of Covid-19 is affecting artists right now.
April 13, 2021
What a Noble Mind: Hamlet and Mental Health
Hosted by Meagan Harris (Programs Associate, Shakespeare Dallas), this episode dives in to the mental health in the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia. Panelists also discuss the actor’s process for portraying roles where mental health is a central focus of the character. This group explores what Shakespeare's most famous protagonist can teach us about trauma and caring for our mental health. Guest speakers: Emily Faith (Teaching Artist + Masters Candidate in Drama Therapy) Seth Magill (Actor + Educator) Stormi Demerson (Actor + Artist)
March 09, 2021
Free Like an Ariel Bird: Colonization and Subjugation in The Tempest
What forms of colonization of thought and language do we encounter in our theatrical practices today? This episode explores themes of colonialism and the resulting subjugation in The Tempest. Panelists bring a unique point of view to the discussion as art-practitioners in/from colonized nations. This episode is hosted by Maryam O. Baig. Our guests are David Lozano, Jose Garay Boszeta, and Carlos A. Drocchi. Shakespeare Dallas is a non-profit theater company located in Dallas, Texas. To keep this podcast and other educational programming free and accessible, donate here:
February 09, 2021
Much Ado About the Sexual Distrust of Women
When we think of the time that Shakespeare was writing his most famous plays, what do we think of? A time when the world was very different- so different that women were sold into marriage by their fathers, prohibited from entering most professions, denied the right to vote, even barred from writing literature or performing on a public stage. In the Elizabethan era, the male distrust of female sexuality underlies much of their patriarchal system. It was a common belief that women tempt men with their beauty, landing the burden of responsibility solely on the woman because it was taught that men cannot control their physical arousal. In one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is often remembered as the feminist icon. But Beatrice and Benedick’s reluctant romance is a sub-plot, after all. The main action revolves around Hero, the innocent and obedient daughter of Leonato, who is praised for her modesty. She is used by the play’s villains in a setup that results in her being publicly slut-shamed on her wedding day by both her father and her fiancé. Her loyal cousin Beatrice is the only person who comes to her defense, prompting Shakespeare to write some of Beatrice’s most famous words “O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.” So where does that place women today, four hundred-some-odd years later? This episode is hosted by Jenni Stewart, Associate Artistic Director at Shakespeare Dallas. Our guests are Rosaura Cruz, Executive Director of Junior Players; Vietca Do, Arts Engagement Programs Manager of The Old Globe; Lauren Smart Professor of Practice in Journalism at Southern Methodist University.  Shakespeare Dallas is a non-profit theater company located in Dallas, Texas. To keep this podcast and other educational programming free and accessible, donate here:
January 12, 2021
The Badge of All Our Tribe: Religiosity & Identity in The Merchant of Venice
Using Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice” as a foundation for discussion, this episode studies the historical moment in which Shakespeare was writing about Venetian religious and cultural composition, how Shakespeare grapples with religious and cultural identity and how the text of this controversial play written in 1596 can teach us about empathy, here in the 21st century. This episode is hosted by Meagan Harris, Programs & Marketing Associate at Shakespeare Dallas. Our guests are Bishop Ackerman, Assisting Anglo-Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth; Professor Moss, Associate Professor of English at Southern Methodist University; and Rabbi Stern, Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas. Shakespeare Dallas is a non-profit theater company located in Dallas, Texas. To keep this podcast and other educational programming free and accessible, donate here: 
January 12, 2021