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        Interpreting Shakespeare

        This series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered explores the ways in which performers and directors have interpreted Shakespeare’s characters and plays differently over time. Students will explore how these differences reflect not only the personalities and techniques of the actors and directors who bring Shakespeare’s words to life on the stage, but their larger historical contexts and cultural sensibilities as well.

        The Many Characters of Richard II

        After introducing the character of Shakespeare’s Richard II as he has been variously played by different actors, actor Derek Jacobi explains his own portrayal of Richard as a man defined by “inherent insensitivity.”

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        Finding Richard

        Actors Derek Jacobi and Jamie Parker discuss how they go about portraying Richard II in a manner that both reflects the nuances of his psyche while accessibly advancing the narrative for audiences unfamiliar with the play.

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        The Deposition Scene

        This video provides an analysis of what Richard II is thinking as he renounces his crown and gives power to the victorious Henry Bolingbroke. It highlights the “deposition scene” from Richard II, exploring its tone and words, and features a script reading and rehearsal of the scene.

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        Hamlet's Baggage

        Actor David Tenant discusses the cultural baggage, audience expectations, performance clichés, and questionable contemporary relevance an actor must overcome to make the role of Hamlet his own.

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        Many Different Hamlets | Shakespeare Uncovered

        In this video segment, actors David Tennant and Jude Law discuss their approach to the soliloquy from act 3, scene 1, of Hamlet; how they each interpreted the play, in particular the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy; and how Hamlet is a very personal role for actors.

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        The Closet Scene

        An analysis of the different ways in which the famous “Closet Scene”—in which Hamlet confronts his mother and inadvertently kills Polonius—has been interpreted in different productions, and what those differences suggest about the times in which these productions were made.

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        "Once More Unto the Breach ..." | Shakespeare Uncovered

        Director Thea Sharrock explains that her new production of Henry V is neither pro-war nor anti-war, but rather an acknowledgement that "war happens" and an attempt to understand the individuals shaped by it — most of all Henry himself, whose character, as king, is defined by the ways, both vicious and valiant, in which he conducts his war against France.

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        Funder: Shakespeare Uncovered is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the generous support of the project’s lead foundation sponsor, the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation. Major funding is also provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Polonsky Foundation, Virginia and Dana Randt, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, and PBS.
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