Throughout its history, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew has been analyzed in different ways. Is the play misogynistic? Satirical? Empowering toward women?

This hour, we reexamine the play in the context of the #MeToo movement. It’s a move that many theater companies have made in recent months, and many have readapted the play to make a statement. We talk about a local production, and about how we view works of theater in different cultural moments. In studio:  

  • Virginia Monte, creator of WallByrd Theatre Company
  • Scott O'Neil, dramaturg for WallByrd’s production of The Taming of the Shrew
  • Jamie Tyrrell, local actor, director, and researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center

A recent production of "Julius Caesar" at New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park has caused uproar within right-wing circles. Some conservatives say the Caesar character -- who is styled after President Trump and assassinated -- normalizes political violence against the right. But do these critics miss the point of the play? The work has long been used as a vehicle for political commentary, and Shakespeare scholars cite its role as a cautionary tale of the dangers of political assassination.

Our guests discuss what the play really means, how it’s taught (if it is taught) in schools, and the role of farce in theater. In studio:

  • Diana Louise Carter, producer for WallByrd Theatre Co.'s summer production of Macbeth, and publicist for the Rochester Shakespeare Players' summer production of As You Like It
  • Evvy Fanning, local high school English teacher
  • Jacob Baller, senior at Webster Thomas High School
  • Sheila Byrne, Advanced Placement English teacher at Webster Thomas High School who prepares students for the Rochester Shakespeare Competition

Saturday marks 400 years since William Shakespeare's death. We're exploring his legacy with a rollicking discussion of what's happening this weekend, what's happening this summer, and how Shakespeare impacts our community on a regular basis.

Our guests:

  • Cece McFarland, Ph.D., director All’s Well That Ends Well for Shakespeare Players of Rochester
  • Virginia Monte, co-owner of WallByrd Theatre Co. and director of this summer’s production of Romeo and Juliet at the Highland Bowl
  • Christine Ridarsky, Rochester city historian and co-curator of the “Shakespeare in Rochester” exhibit at the Central Library
  • Peter Scribner, president of the Rochester Community Players (RCP), founder of the RCP's Shakespeare Players program, and co-curator of the “Shakespeare in Rochester” exhibit at the Central Library
  • Greg Foran, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at Nazareth College

In our second hour, a new study finds that nurse-family partnerships can save lives of both mothers and their first-born children living in the roughest parts of cities. We'll explore how with Dawn Borgeest, Sr. Vice President of United Way of Greater Rochester and Dr. Harriet Kitzman from University of Rochester Medical Center.

Then we ask: is Shakespeare still relevant? Well, of course he is. And that's largely thanks to the passionate work of performers like Bill Alden, an actor who is a veteran of the stage. He brings the power of Shakespeare to our studio (and he might have his own conspiracy theories as to the nature of the bard).