Punk Rock Shakespeare

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Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 5

"Here will we sit and let the sounds of music / Creep in our ears"
The Merchant of Venice (5.1.63-64)

How can young people connect with Shakespeare?

It's a question that confronts each generation.

Members of Taffety Punk, a Washington, DC, theater company, have taken to heart the mission of bringing Shakespeare into the 21st century.

Rebecca Sheir, host of our Shakespeare Unlimited series, talks with Taffety Punk founding member and Artistic Director Marcus Kyd about how he and a group of classically trained actors—who are also ex-punk rockers—are giving new meaning to the term "band of players."

From Bootleg performances of Shakespeare's plays—rehearsed and staged in a day—to Riot Grrrls all-female Shakespeare, recordings of punk versions of Shakespeare's Sonnet 71 and Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech from Romeo and Juliet,  and the Generator series of experimental works, Taffety Punk is defining Shakespeare for a new generation of theatergoers and theater makers.

Marcus Kyd is a founding member and artistic director of Taffety Punk Theatre Company.

Taffety Punk Theatre Company's mission is to establish a dynamic ensemble of actors, dancers, and musicians who ignite a public passion for theater by making the classical and the contemporary exciting, meaningful, and affordable. Taffety Punk received the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at the 2008 Helen Hayes Awards.

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From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © July 2, 2014. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved.

Produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul; Garland Scott, associate producer.
 

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Want more? Browse our full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. Listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, and NPR One.