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The Globe Makes Shakespeare More Accessible

New Artistic Director Barry Edelstein Wants To Get People Thinking Shakespeare

The Mechanics who perform the play within the play in

Credit: The Old Globe Theater

Above: The Mechanics who perform the play within the play in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the Old Globe's Festival Stage.

Beth Accomando, KPBS Arts and Culture Reporter
Barry Edelstein, Artistic Director at The Old Globe Theatre


The Old Globe Theater's new artistic director Barry Edelstein is on a mission to make William Shakespeare more accessible to more people.

This summer marks a transition for the plays of William Shakespeare at The Old Globe in Balboa Park. Adrian Noble has been the artistic director of the Shakespeare Festival for the past four seasons. This will be his last year in that position with Barry Edelstein recently named the Globe’s new artistic director. Edelstein comes to the organization with a passion for Shakespeare and a desire to prove that there's no reason for people to be afraid of the Bard or think of him as "cultural spinach." Shakespeare may be good for you but he's also fun and enlightening.

Edelstein recently staged "Thinking Shakespeare Live," a theatrical version of his book "Thinking Shakespeare." The book and its stage incarnation both explore how directors and actors work to deconstruct and demystify the text of Shakespeare's plays.

Edelstein breaks down Shakespeare iambic pentameter and suggests ways to read Shakespeare for better understanding and enjoyment.

The Globe's Summer Line Up

June 2 – Sept. 29, 2013

"A Midsummer Night's Dream"

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Ian Talbot

Fall under the spell of Shakespeare’s most joyful and popular comedy. Filled with magic, humor, music and spectacle, the merriment unfolds in an enchanted forest where fairies play tricks on unsuspecting lovers and bumbling actors are transformed beyond their wildest dreams. With a magic potion that grants love at first sight, anything can, and does, happen.

June 9 – Sept. 28, 2013

"The Merchant of Venice"

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Adrian Noble

Shakespeare’s unforgettable tale of mercy and justice, generosity and greed. After years of persecution for his Jewish faith, Shylock finally gets his chance for revenge. The merchant Antonio cannot pay his debt and Shylock demands his due: a pound of flesh. To save Antonio’s life, the resourceful Portia must triumph in the courtroom—but at what cost? The Merchant of Venice weaves together humor and pathos in a spellbinding, suspenseful drama.

June 16 – Sept. 26, 2013

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

By Tom Stoppard

Directed by Adrian Noble

Fast-paced and irresistibly funny, Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning farce turns Shakespeare’s Hamlet inside out. Two clowns wake up one morning to discover that they are minor characters in the greatest tragedy ever written. As the story of Hamlet plays out all around them, they struggle to figure out what is happening, what it all means and whether they can escape their ultimate fate.

Film versions of the plays:

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935) with Mickey Rooney as Puck

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1968) directed by Peter Hall and starring Diana Rigg (Helena), Helen Mirren (Hermia), Judi Dench (Titania), and Ian Holm (Puck)

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999) with Kevin Kline as Nick Bottom

"A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" (1982) Woody Allen's sort of adaptation of Shakespeare's play

"The Merchant of Venice" (2004) with Al Pacino as Shylock

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" (1990) directed by playwright Tom Stoppard and starring Tom Roth and Gary Oldman

"Looking for Richard" (1996) Al Pacino's brilliant documentary about his passion for Shakespeare

Scene from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

A scene from Tom Stoppard's film adaptation of his own play, "Roesencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

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