Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Did You Watch Shakespeare Uncovered?

So, did you watch Shakespeare Uncovered?  I've got all 6 episodes (there were 6, right?) on DVR and have been trying to find the time to watch them, because I don't want to miss anything.

I find my attention span with stuff like that does an interesting thing.  Here's the way I put it in conversation earlier today:

They have this weird effect on me where a single line - or, hell, pretty much David Tennant on screen at all - is overwhelmingly spine tingly.  But then they switch to the narrator/host/expert who talks *about* Shakespeare and my mind tends to wander right out of the room. When it comes to the "about" Shakespeare part it's in a different league.  "Oh, Shakespeare wrote The Tempest while he was dealing with his daughter's controversial engagement to a man who'd impregnated another woman,  I never made that connection before…."  is interesting, but not in the same way that watching performance is.
Does that make sense?  I like learning about Shakespeare.  I do.  But Trevor Nunn talking about directorial choices in staging the shipwreck just doesn't hold my interest the same way that the actual shipwreck does.

If you missed Shakespeare Uncovered, the entire series is available (or maybe coming soon?) to DVD.  Attached is the press release I received this morning:

PBS’ latest and greatest salute to the Bard -- the six-part series “Shakespeare Uncovered” -- has left the airwaves, but the critically acclaimed show and a variety of great Shakespeare-related content is available online.  HD-quality streaming versions of the six “Uncovered” episodes can be found here, along with character quizzes, two colorful (and quite helpful) infographics that lay out key plot points from HamletMacbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as links to full broadcast versions of plays from the PBS archive, and lesson plans for teachers who use Shakespeare in the classroom.

Produced by Blakeway Productions, 116 Films and THIRTEEN in association with Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare Uncovered combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts  Ethan Hawke (the episode on Macbeth), Jeremy Irons (Henry IV & V), Derek Jacobi (Richard II), Trevor Nunn (The Tempest), Joely Richardson (the comedies), and David Tennant (Hamlet) to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

“If the marvelous ‘Shakespeare Uncovered’ had been around when all of us were first introduced to the Bard, the world might be a better place, or at least a happier one. Here, in fresh and exciting ways, some of Shakespeare's greatest works are examined and, yes, revealed, in ways that will make all but the expert fan rush to read or see them again.” – The Wall Street Journal

Bard lovers can find all the content at  For more information about the “Shakespeare Uncovered” digital offerings, contact us or call 212-576-2700.

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