Last summer, the BBC aired a six-part series exploring Shakespeare’s plays with interviews from actors, directors, and scholars interspersed with clips from movies and recorded stage performances of the plays being discussed. On this side of the pond, at least, those of us without higher-listed cable waited patiently for either a DVD of the series or for its American airing.
The latter, at least, is here!
PBS will air all six episodes on Fridays starting January 25th in two-hour segments:
January 25th, 9-11pm EST: ‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Comedies’ hosted by Ethan Hawke and Jolie Richardson.
February 1, 9-11pm EST: ‘Richard II,’ ‘Henry IV,’ and ‘Henry V’ with Derek Jacobi and Jeremy Irons.
February 8, 9-11pm EST: ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Tempest’ hosted by David Tennant and Trevor Nunn.
What’s especially exciting about this series is that far from being a definitive account of what these plays are or mean, the hosts discuss their passion for the play, and consider the plays’ many interpretations and long histories. Hopefully these hours can stimulate discussions about the plays, and give new perspectives for approaching the texts from different points of view.
The DVD set will be available by April, and can be pre-ordered from PBS, if you’re interested in that.