Acting, Emotion, and Science on Shakespeare's Stage

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 116

How do actors do what they do? How do they stir up emotions, both in themselves and in us as we watch them? Joseph Roach’s 1985 book The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting examined how the actor’s art has been understood by scientists, philosophers, actors, and audiences through history: from Shakespeare’s 17th century, when actors emitted animal spirits through their eyes, to David Garrick’s 18th century, when pneumatic tubes transmitted emotion from the brain to the body. We talk with Joseph Roach about historical theories of acting that affected how our favorite playwrights wrote and even made their way into the most influential acting techniques of the 20th century.

Joseph Roach was the long-time Sterling Professor of Theater at Yale University. The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, one of a number of books by Roach, was originally published by the University of Delaware Press in 1985 and was reissued by the University of Michigan Press in 1993. He recently joined us at the Folger Institute for a seminar titled “What Acting Is.” He is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

Visit our blog The Collation to read a series of posts from the twelve members of Roach's 2018 "What Acting Is" seminar, examining textuality, temporality, mentality, and physicality in the actor's performance.

Listen to Shakespeare Unlimited on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher or NPR One.

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published March 5, 2019. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Ryan McEvoy at the Yale University Broadcast Center.

Previous: Simon Mayo: Mad Blood Stirring


Transcript

MICHAEL WITMORE: This happens all the time. You’re at the theater watching a play and the performance is making you really, really emotional. Why? Why do you feel like this? What is happening?

From the Folger Shakespeare Library, this is Shakespeare Unlimited. I’m Michael Witmore, the Folger’s director. Of course, psychologists and psychiatrists could give you their ideas about how actors can make you angry or make you cry at the theater. Modern science has a firm grasp on exactly what is happening. But it turns out, doctors and scientists have always thought they understood this phenomenon … even though, if you look across history, you’ll find that the firm assertions of medicine aren’t really firm at all.

Joseph Roach was a professor at the Yale School of Drama for 21 years. Last fall, right after he retired, he taught a seminar here at the Folger Institute and we wanted to have him on the podcast. While we were discussing what we might talk to him about, we picked up a book that he wrote back in the 1980s that is a remarkable exploration of the history I just mentioned: exactly how scientists and doctors, clergy and common sense have explained over the years how an actor can induce an emotional response in audience members, just by skillfully reciting words written by someone else. This was a question no theater historian had ever examined before, demonstrating the arc of our understanding of how and why the human body does what it does every day, and how that translates to the stage.

This book is called The Player’s Passion. When it comes to the question of scientific understanding of this subject, the principal word in that title is “Passion.” That’s a word we use today, but it meant something completely different in Shakespeare’s time and for decades after. That difference holds the key to understanding this history. We invited Joe into the studio to explain it all, in a podcast we call Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action. Joseph Roach is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

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BOGAEV: Let's start with how people in Shakespeare's time understood the passions, because their essential concept of how the body worked. So, what did they mean when they talked about the passions?

ROACH: Well, you’ve got to think of juices, vapors, and you've got to think of the body more like an aggregation of absorbent sponges leaking one into the other—

BOGAEV: Bleh. [LAUGHTER]

ROACH: —than you do of a body with a pump—Yeah, oh no, it's quite frightening. The passions were the consequence of the operation of the external world and the stimuli that human beings experience moment-to-moment, day-to-day, on temperaments. Temperaments that were sanguine or choleric or melancholic or phlegmatic. Each of those corresponds to an element in nature: air, fire, earth, and water. And each corresponds to a substance within the body… I can get this… blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, and each has a particular organ from which it is excreted. If those elements are well-mixed, you have a “pacific” temperament. But when they get out of kilter, that can lead to deep, and sometimes violent, emotions. Of course, the passions are at the peak of those emotions. There were two kinds. There were “concupiscible” and “irascible.”

BOGAEV: I'm so glad you so beautifully explained that, because it would be wrong to understand the passions as just emotions, or as a metaphor for what's going on in the body. The person sitting in the audience in Shakespeare's time does not think of them metaphorically. They are very real and they're visceral, and if actors are good, they do exert this power over me by how well they pretend to feel something. They make me feel it, too. On top of that, in Shakespeare's time, as you argue in your book, the people in the audience believe that this power that actors had was more than what we think of now. More than persuasive… they actually believed it was magic, or was a kind of medical power. Something between medicine and magic, because at the time they were almost the same thing.

ROACH: Exactly. That's perfectly said. The physiology of the spirits is an important part of this whole medical doctrine that undergirds commonplace understanding of what the body is and how it functions. And animal spirits, the most refined, were semi-magical. These vaporous spirits, which could actually exit from your eye when you were impassioned, and enter into the eyes of your spectator. It was a physical force.

BOGAEV: Okay, now that is just cray. I mean, [LAUGHTER] it's like actors are spraying their magic gas into my eyes.

ROACH: [LAUGHS] Right, yeah. Right. We think of love at first sight, two eyes meeting. The explanation for that was the animal spirits actually exited the two eyes and met in the middle and made a connection, which you might metaphorically think of as an electrochemical connection between the two lovers. Audience members and actors had a similar relation, although a little bit more temporary.

BOGAEV: You site a treatise that explains how grief is produced by contraction of the spirits of the brain, causing tears to come out of the eyes, and then the compression of the brain causes wringing of the hands, so…

ROACH: Right. It's a surfeit of liquid and, in the case of a highly-wrought passion, it's a poisonous liquid. So, the body needs to purge it. And out it comes as tears. The gesture of hand-wringing, common sense connects it to the idea that there's just too much liquid in the body and it has to be expelled. The experience that we might connect to it now in just common experience is how you feel after having a good cry.

BOGAEV: Wrung out.

ROACH: Wrung out and purged.

BOGAEV: Like a sponge. Well, it's so fascinating how the physical and the emotional collapse into each other. It sounds like in this phenomenology, the heart and the lungs, as well, are very intricately and intimately connected, both to each other and to emotion and the eliciting of emotion.

ROACH: Yes, the location of emotion was various. The heart was not conceived as a pump. It was conceived as a furnace, or a little cracking plant, that distilled these vapors, turned vital spirits into animal spirits and into the nerve action and gesture and expression that we've already discussed. But it still was a place where emotion was felt. Emotion in the chest was part of experience then, as it is now. And that was a subject of worry to physicians, particularly when actors would work up these emotions every day as part of their obligations of creating a character. Physicians were somewhat worried about the health of actors because they dealt in these emotions as a part of their job description.

BOGAEV: Well, you can see how you might think this, because it is observable. For instance, you know, on a cold day, you breathe and steam comes out.

ROACH: Absolutely. Yes.

BOGAEV: Right? If your heart's a furnace… makes so much sense.

ROACH: That's right. And when my scientist friends interrogate this history, I point out these were scientists themselves who were wrong, but they weren't stupid. They had a very complicated system that they'd worked up, and it made sense of the experience as they lived it.

BOGAEV: Well, okay, so this is what people in the audience thought about how the body worked and how actors made them feel things. So, how did this influence the craft of acting, how actors used their bodies on stage? You give an example of an actor gesturing with his left hand, which is always… Ancient medicine has a lot of theories about the left side of the body.

ROACH: Yes, well, that's right. It wasn't arbitrary. Because the vital spirits were being translated into animal spirits in the left ventricle of the heart. Sorry to get too technical about this, but—

BOGAEV: Oh, no. We like that.

ROACH: —it made the left side of the body more limber, more limp, and it was sinister, and it was gauche. The left side was always regarded with a certain amount of suspicion from ancient times. The right side, the right arm, was to be the main arm in gesture, and the left arm was only to be used in support of the right. Now how many actors followed that instruction to the letter? I'm not sure. But that's what the handbooks told them to do.

BOGAEV: And what else did actors do to orient themselves around the science?

ROACH: Well, they understood that the authors were writing for them, and arranging the passions in certain sequences, and making a case for their characters and their characters' emotion within the script. So their job was to embody those passions that were called for. And in the surviving accounts we have, most of them agree that the actors truly embodied the emotions that they expressed. They felt them sometimes so deeply that they lapsed into character and couldn't come out of it.

BOGAEV: Well, thinking about this, it does make a lot of sense, or it makes more sense of things that I find hard to understand with my 21st-century mind and aesthetic with Shakespeare. For instance, how within the space of just a monologue, a character can just swing violently from one emotion to another.

ROACH: Yes.

BOGAEV: And as you're saying, these actors, they expected these sudden, highly visible transitions between passions. Even in a speech, or even within a single line.

ROACH: Exactly. And that's such a good example, because Othello explains it. He's not naturally jealous, but once he experiences jealousy, it's firing full-bore. Leontes moves from pacific behavior with his good friend, Polixenes, in a moment to lethal jealousy of Hermione. "Too hot, too hot," he says. Instantly he's thrown into a jealous fit. These are emotions that come quickly and come easily.

BOGAEV: So in that example from The Winter’s Tale, there was so much more meaning in that gesture for Leontes than there is in our eyes, is what you're saying.

ROACH: Well, it still works as a moment in the theater, and with an actor who is doing his job, it is a brilliant moment. And of course, it's woven into the fabric of Shakespeare's symphonic structures of the passions. So, that that "too hot, too hot" at the very beginning of the play then returns in the most extraordinary moment when Leontes reaches up and touches the statue of Hermione, and says, "She's warm.”

BOGAEV: And when you look at the text, can you see examples in the plays in which Shakespeare is playing off of this idea, or using it knowingly, that rhetorical techniques are dangerous?

ROACH: The one that comes to mind, just the way you phrased the question, brings King Lear to mind, when he's experiencing “male hysteria:”

“O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Hysterical passio, down, thou climbing sorrow!
Thy element’s below.”

It was believed from antiquity that the womb detached itself from the uterus and floated free in the body and malignly would attack other organs and produce choking and violent gestures and complete loss of physical control. The trick here is, the anatomists posited that there must be a male womb, as well, because men get hysterical, too.

BOGAEV: Very logical. [LAUGHS] It only follows.

ROACH: Shakespeare is…  Absolutely. It makes perfect sense!

BOGAEV: Right, right [LAUGHTER].

ROACH: You know, I hate when that happens. But it does. [LAUGHTER]

BOGAEV: Before we go on, I think it's important just to note that what we're talking about, this ability to project the passions on the part of actors, that is one of the big reasons why actors were so mistrusted and feared in the 16th century. Isn't that right?

ROACH: Yes, because the ability to represent the emotions, and to have them at your bidding and at your will, set up all kinds of anti-theatrical prejudice.

BOGAEV: Wow, okay. So all of this is going on the in audience's minds, and actors and playwrights as well, in Shakespeare's time. Now we're going to jump ahead 100 years to the [Shakespeare] Jubilee, and to this actor, David Garrick, who was behind the Jubilee, and basically revived Shakespeare, made him noteworthy. Garrick is one of the big reasons we're still talking about Shakespeare today.

By Garrick's time, there was a different scientific understanding of how the body works. You write that you can see this in his acting, that it's what made him stand out as very much an actor of his time. So how did science explain the body differently by the 1700s, and why did Garrick, as you write, speak of the body as a “moving statue?”

ROACH: Well, that's a great question, and it's such a vivid example of the argument that before you say what natural acting is, you have to know what nature is to the actors and the audience members who saw the theater and saw Garrick act in that time, as previous generations had seen Burbage and Betterton operating in a very different stylistic genre.

Garrick came to prominence at a moment when there was a revolution in nerve physiology. Indeed, a whole revolution in medical science, and in the whole concept of the body. It was an age in which mechanism, rather than magic, was the key idea. Mechanism in the force of emotion and will on the nerves actually made them move like a pneumatic machine. The nerves were imagined by Descartes and other natural philosophers as tubes, not unlike the hydraulic tubes in your brakes in your automobile, in which emotion of the brain would set in motion a communication down the pneumatic tube to the end of the fingertips, or to the other appendages, and make the body move.

It's clear from Garrick's own writings on the theater, and I think also from the style of playing—about which we know a lot more than we do about earlier actors because of the way in which Garrick was documented—in the style of playing there's what we would think as a more mechanical relationship to emotions and to expression. But it wasn't unnatural to Garrick, or presumably to his audience, because he was very successful in making everyone who saw him think that he represented nature perfectly.

BOGAEV: Okay, so when you describe it that way, that this is the 1700s, is more of an age preoccupied with the mechanical, I think of clocks. And I picture Garrick thinking of the body as a moving statue, and holding a pose, and then something animates the pose, almost robotically?

ROACH: Yes, a good example of that would be…  Yeah, it is. Garrick's famous start at the appearance of his father's ghost, which made Dr. Johnson worry about the effect of the shock on the ghost, so realistic was Garrick's start. Garrick started in a way that sent shivers right through the audience and then held that posture. The physiology behind that was that that pressure of the start just forced the material from the tubes and left him standing there like an immobilized statue. Then, gradually, appendage by appendage, he came back to life again. Two sources establish that Garrick had some sort of mechanical fright wig, and that at the moment he stepped back, on “Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!” the wig stood on its end.

[BOGAEV LAUGHS]

ROACH: And either that's true: and in the greatest moment of Shakespearean stagecraft, and acted by the most talented actor…

BOGAEV: It's suddenly Looney Tunes [LAUGH].

ROACH: …of the 18th century, and maybe ever, turned on a fright wig—Either that's true, or a number of people thought it was. Either way, it suggests a very different way of looking at nerve physiology and the emotions than we have. But also a different way from that that prevailed in the age of Burbage and Shakespeare himself. Even as Garrick used this doctrine and wrote about it in "An Essay on Acting,” another idea was coming into prominence, and that's “vitalism.” That tissue, living tissue, is involved, was imbued with a vital force that can't be explained my mere mechanism. And that's getting even closer to a modern idea of what the body is and how it functions. But these ideas are in play during Garrick's lifetime.

BOGAEV: It is wild. And whether the wig flipped or not, there was, at the time, this term— I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it right—"horripilation?"

ROACH: Horripilation, yes.

BOGAEV: Horripilation. Explain what that was.

ROACH: Right, that's when your hair stands up. Well, surely, Barbara, you've experienced that [LAUGHS].

BOGAEV: [LAUGHS] Well, of course. On the back of my neck, not on my wig.

ROACH: When you're really scared. That's right. Exactly. Like the "fearful porpentine,” as Shakespeare puts it. Just, yeah.

BOGAEV: Right. "Hair grows up on the head in fear or awe” was the explanation, right? And it's accompanied by widening and bulging of the eyes?

ROACH: That's right. It's because of the disarrangement of the spirits, of the pneumatic substance under the shock of the experience of terror.

BOGAEV: So, this was taken very seriously. This was the style of acting at the time, or the acting was based on this. And it sounds as if they'd alternate between periods of action and moments of this kind of static tableau.

ROACH: Yes, the tableau, the moment when the drama was wrought up to a moment of decision or a particular drama. And then it could stop and let the audience absorb the meaning of that moment, and even applaud. And the actors would wait and then begin again when the moment came to start up the action.

BOGAEV: It sounds almost Kabuki-like.

ROACH: That's a really interesting analogy, and I wish I could see it and compare to the Kabuki, which I have seen. But I can see it in the paintings. I can see it to some extent in the prompt books, which are the best evidence for what is going on the stage, which is left the record of what the actors were saying and some of what they were doing behind. We, as theater historians, must see it in our mind's eye.

BOGAEV: Well, this brings us to your discussion in your book of the castrati. You say that they were admired because their expressions and their poses were said to convey the passions with the kind of precision and vivid effect favored by the contemporary mechanical sciences, which is what we're talking about. Unpack that for us. How so?

ROACH: Well, it's particularly true of one superstar castrato named Nicolino, who came to London and performed in opera in the early years of the 18th century. His gestures were extraordinarily disciplined, and Richard Steele, who was a real connoisseur of stage action, admired it so much that he hoped the actors in Britain would take up this Italian's gestures. I think the reason was he studied ballet, as well as voice. And he could fill the retornelli, the long musical passages that precede the arias in a Handelian opera, he could fill those with really meaningful gestures, striking poses that would prepare the auditors for the emotion of the music when he unfolded it in the aria. Modern stage directors have a devil of a time dealing with that, with the retornelli before the arias, because we're trying to fill them with psychologically motivated action. But Nicolino filled them with the passions motivated by his understanding of the relation of the music that underscored that prefatory overture, really, to the aria and the aria itself.

BOGAEV: Hmm. And did it influence the English stage?

ROACH: I think it did. Barton Booth was a great tragedian in the era of Nicolino and he was also noted for similar gestures. I think Nicolino was certainly admired by the critics and probably influenced the actors.

BOGAEV: You mentioned Descartes, that his writings contributed to this understanding of the body as a moving statue. Also, you write about Denis Diderot, another great thinker at the time, and that he was obsessed with understanding how everything worked. Things like clocks, and windmills, and knitting machines, and artillery, and choreography.

ROACH: And choreography and drama.

BOGAEV: Right. And he wrote something, a book, Paradoxe sur le Comédien, in 1773. It got published a little later, in 1830, and you say that it sparked a lot of discussions about acting theory.

ROACH: Yes, it's been debated ever since. Because Diderot, who once believed that the actor should absolutely feel the emotions he's expressing, after he saw Garrick, he changed his mind and decided that the actor was not merely an interpretive artist, but a creative artist who made a work of art in the interpretation of the role, by creating an inner model of the character's emotions, of course corresponding to what the playwright required. But it was the actor who created the actual sequence that could be embodied and performed. Diderot saw Garrick when Garrick came to Paris, and saw his salon exhibitions of the passions and was deeply impressed.

BOGAEV: Why was he so impressed? And when you say Garrick came to France and he did salons, he would perform for people in, kind of, their grand, you know, living rooms, their drawing rooms. And he would not only perform, he would talk about acting, his technique, right?

ROACH: That's right. He was bilingual. He comes from a French family. And he would act in English. He would act a scene from Shakespeare, and then explain it and comment on it to the philosophes, who were fascinated by English theater generally, and Garrick in particular.

BOGAEV: Well, why was he such a revelation?

ROACH: I think it's because he had mastered the ideas, the prevailing ideas of the time, about what the body is and how it works and how it feels, and why it moves the way it does, in a way that was consonant with the philosophes and their scientific principles, mindful that Diderot knows all of this, as someone who's up to date in contemporary science. Whereas, the French theater was still in a different style, a different mode, a different understanding of nature, as well as a different pattern of physical expressiveness in gesture, and staging, and choreography and the rest. I think it was just a startling moment of watching a paradigm change right before your eyes, of seeing something entirely new.

BOGAEV: Huh. So, you write that people marveled at his ability to do all of that, and also his expressions. And that's really what he's known for, Garrick, and yeah, as you describe it, the “rapidly fluctuating physiognomy of the passions.” By that, do you mean his facial expressions changed a lot and really fast? Or was it that he'd strike a pose and then suddenly he'd move? I know he did something as a demonstration in these salons that involved two doors, or two screens. Could you describe that for us?

ROACH: Yes, well Diderot comments on that in the Paradox of the Actor, which you alluded to a moment ago. It was a demonstration of facial physiognomy, of control over the face and its expression, that paralleled a pianist playing scales. Garrick started on one emotion, and then ran his face through nine distinct emotions, recognizable, stopped, and ran his face back down through the same sequence, but in reverse, just as you would play a scale on the piano.

BOGAEV: Wow. And these two screens are kind of like a frame, a picture frame or a door frame?

ROACH: Yeah, they're like a proscenium to frame his face. So it was just the face coming through. And that—to your point about did he need a full-body posture or movement to work his magic—the answer is as long as it was close enough, he could do it with his face alone.

BOGAEV: So, talk about a rubber face. So Diderot, as you say, wrote these passages in the Paradox that he attributed to Garrick and Garrick's voice. He has Garrick talking about acting and also about the type of person that an actor should envision himself portraying, and he talks about an ideal man, as opposed to playing oneself. Garrick says that if you play only yourself, you'll be a crappy actor, a mediocre actor.

ROACH: Yes, yes. That's exactly…  You'll be mediocre. It is a being that you imagine, that you bring into being, by the force of your creative imagination. And when you think of it, it's an extraordinary thing to, as it were, give birth to a human being who's not yourself, but the distillation of all that you have observed and remembered and felt, and then can recombine to put it into the two hours' traffic of our stage.

BOGAEV: Can you give us some examples of where you see this in action?

ROACH: Diderot…

BOGAEV: For instance, he did Lear.

ROACH: Yes, yes. So that would be a good example because it was one of his most famous and successful Shakespearean roles. And he left a note behind, it was actually to the French when he was giving his parlor exhibition of Lear, and he explained how he came to his understanding of the crushing tragedy of Lear's loss of his daughter. Garrick had heard tell of a madman who was kept confined in a private home nearby where Garrick lived, and he got permission to study the gestures of this madman, which consisted of an impassioned reenactment of a terrible event. And again and again and again, this poor man would go over this, a traumatized memory that he kept repeating and repeating. Evidently, he'd been holding his child in his arms on an upper story window while a parade went by outside, and he lost his grip on his little girl, and she fell to her death in the street below. His tragedy was reenacting this. Garrick had the insight that this was the Lear action. Garrick would reenact this madman's gestures and then coolly step back and say, "Thus it was I learned to imitate madness.”

BOGAEV: It's so modern. I mean, it's so Stanislavski.

ROACH: It is. And most observers…  You're very well-informed, but many observers would say, "Well, Stanislavski was all about completely feeling the emotions that you represented.” And that's not so. Stanislavski was interested in the ability of the actor to both embody the emotion and to keep an inner voice that always corrected, always adjusted, was always in charge of the emotions and everything else on the stage, because that's what it takes to speak iambic pentameter interpretively and engage in these powerful actions that Shakespeare has provided, and get to the end of the play having done your part perfectly, so the other actors know exactly what you're going to do. You can't just abandon yourself to your inner feelings. You have to feel those emotions in some way, but in rehearsal, in repetition, you shape them into a work of art. That's what Diderot saw in Garrick, and what Stanislavski saw in Diderot, because he read the Paradox in the early years of the 20th century, just when he was formulating his great system of acting, which has been so influential on the modern theater.

BOGAEV: Would you have thought about this so much and—as far as I can tell, you've made connections between the science of this period and the stage that other people are not. So, has it changed anything about how you get actors to inhabit their physical self, their bodies, and to move? Because it seems like such a rich way of thinking about the correlation, or the interaction of the body and the spirit, or the emotions.

ROACH: Well, certainly the later materials, from Diderot on, have shaped my idea of what acting is, and how it can best be utilized in a production to bring out the best in the actors. Diderot was interested in repetition… it's the French word for "rehearsal." And he was struck, as I have been in the studio, that the more you repeat something, the more natural it can become. That when you first start out in a role, or when you first start out in your career, in your first acting class, you're awkward and it looks, well, mechanical. Like that machine that has stopped working. But as you repeat in rehearsal, and thoughtfully work through the part again and again, as you embody it, as it embodies you…

BOGAEV: As it animates you.

ROACH: You retain a control, or it animates you, yes. And you don't have to worry about word-for-word, or gesture-for-gesture, because it becomes second nature. And then your mind is free to work on other things, even as you're going through the part. It's not that you're losing attention on what you're doing, it's just that so many of the things you would ordinarily concentrate on in the early going, such as "What is my next line?"… by the time you're well-rehearsed, you have it powerfully in your ken. And in your nerves.

BOGAEV: This is just fascinating. Thank you so much for this.

ROACH: Well, thank you. You ask wonderful questions.

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WITMORE: Joseph Roach was the Sterling Professor of Theater at Yale University. His book, The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, was originally published by the University of Delaware Press in 1985 and was reissued by the University of Michigan Press in 1993. He was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

This podcast episode, “Suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Ryan McEvoy at the Yale University Broadcast Center.

If you are enjoying Shakespeare Unlimited, we hope you’ll do us a favor. Please review the podcasts on whatever platforms you get the podcast from. That’s one of the best ways to helps us get the word out about this great podcast. We hope you’ll help.

Shakespeare Unlimited comes to you from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger is dedicated to advancing knowledge and the arts. You can find more about the Folger at our website, folger.edu. You can also come and visit us in person, if you find yourself in Washington, DC. We’re on Capitol Hill one block east of the US Capitol. See a performance in our Elizabethan Theater and come face to face with one of our First Folios—the first printed collection of Shakespeare's plays. We hope to see you, and thanks for listening. For the Folger Shakespeare Library, I’m Folger Director Michael Witmore.