For the majority of audience members, Shakespeare is brought to life by the actors and actresses who speak his lines. Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells considered all of the most outstanding Shakespeare performers, from past to present, and essentially created his own personal Hall of Fame. He’s written about these artists in a book called Great Shakespeare Actors: Burbage to Branagh.
Wells sifted through firsthand accounts from those who saw these great performers on stage to get a sense of what the actors brought to Shakespeare and why it was worth going to see them.
Stanley Wells is interviewed by Stephanie Kaye.
This podcast episode is called “O, there be players that I have seen play.”
Written and produced for the Folger Shakespeare Library by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is associate producer. Edited by Esther Ferington and Gail Kern Paster.
We had help from Timothy Olmstead at WAMU-FM in Washington, DC. We’d also like to thank Beverley Hemming, the Corporate Communications Manager at the Stratford-on-Avon District Council for allowing Dr. Wells to speak from their recording unit at Elizabeth House.